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Post-modern architecture.

With so many homes featuring different architectural styles in the housing market, it can be a challenge to find the right fit. When searching for your dream home, it’s important to embrace your style instead of settling for any cookie-cutter design. If you’re looking for something that has as much personality as you, consider learning more about homes that celebrate unconventional design and step outside the box, like Postmodern homes.

What Is Postmodern Architecture?

Postmodern architecture, sometimes known as “PoMo,” is a style of building design that embraces individualism and experimentation. It emerged as a movement against traditional, classical styles and sought to make buildings dynamic and fun while breaking the rules.

The Postmodern home design incorporates elements of previous architectural styles in exaggerated and whimsical ways. Traditional, conservative leanings are void in this era, and many architecture experts say it was a time of “anything goes.”

Characteristics Of Postmodern Architecture And Design

The Postmodern style is easy to distinguish from other architectural qualities. If someone were to describe the features of postmodern architecture, here are some of the words they might use:

Colors

Color helps transform traditional buildings into artwork and brings ordinary facades to life. Typically, colored glass, ceramic tiles and stones are used on exterior surfaces, while bold primary colors and metallics are common for interior Postmodern design. 

Textures

Texture plays a key role in making Postmodern architectural structures unique. Architects specializing in this area tend to break up large commercial buildings into different, smaller structures to represent their meaning and function. Using a mix of different building materials and a variety of heights can allow each building or home to be unique. Distressed textures are popular, as are other unique feels like knits, wood, velvet and fur. Layering of textures is known to be a secret weapon among Postmodern architects!

Shapes

Asymmetry is an important element of Postmodern design. No floor plan in a Postmodern house is completely symmetrical, which helps contribute to the personalization and uniqueness of the home. These architects love to play around with lines and shapes, specifically by exaggerating rooflines and slopes. Odd angles and ambiguous shapes are also common elements.

Humor

You might have heard the phrase “if walls could talk.” If Postmodern walls could talk, they would be hilarious. While you might have never thought about architecture being expressive of humor, Postmodern style uses “camp” humor – meaning something that’s so bad, it’s actually good. For example, a building that appears like it’s about to collapse, but it was strategically designed to look that way.

The History Behind Postmodern Architecture

Postmodern architecture began in the United States in the 1960s as a critique against traditional styles of architecture. The movement attempted to push beyond practical, boring, muted design that ignored history and culture, and replace tradition with personality by making reference to society.

The Postmodern style was conceptualized in the 1960s, influenced interior design in the 1970s and hit its peak in the 1980s. The style mirrored social issues at the time and made reference to history, geography and pop culture. It evolved in the 1990s and spread throughout Europe to Italy, France and Spain before making its way to Japan. Today, Postmodern styles remain popular in architecture and design.

Well-Known Postmodern Architects

Robert Venturi and his wife Denise Scott Brown are perhaps two of the most famous architects in the Postmodern design world. Architectural theorist Venturi introduced the style of Postmodern design and the movement that emerged with it in his book “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture.” In the book, he claimed that buildings should have historical layers and textures rather than being uniform. He also encouraged architecture that reflects social conditions and public behavior.

Venturi later published another book, along with his urban planner wife and architect Steven Izenour, titled “Learning from Las Vegas.” The book outlined their argument against modernism and encouraged architects to open their eyes to existing design and appreciate it for what it’s worth. The book had a successful impact on readers and prompted them to think about buildings in a new way.

Other famous Postmodern architects are Michael Graves, Charles Moore, Philip Johnson and Frank Gehry.

The Difference Between Postmodern And Modern Architecture

If you’ve heard of modern or Midcentury modern style homes, don’t confuse them with Postmodern homes! Both styles are architecturally different.

Postmodern homes, like most movements in art and architecture, developed as a reaction to the rather stoic, boxy (some would even say boring) nature of Modern architecture.

Unlike Postmodern construction, Midcentury modern architecture focuses on simplicity and functionality. Modern architecture first emerged in the 1920s and has since developed into what is referred to as Midcentury modern. It uses straightforward design and clean lines while showcasing natural and industrial materials.

Postmodern architecture and design goes one step further to break the rigid rules of Midcentury modern design, and give the architect more freedom to express themselves and evoke meaning.

Famous Postmodern Homes And Buildings

You might think that Postmodern architecture has died out, but you’d be surprised as to how many buildings incorporate the PoMo style. The Sydney Opera House, Bank of America Center and Beverly Hills Civic Center are a few examples of public buildings that were inspired by this style.

One of the most well-known Postmodern homes is the Vann Venturi House in Pennsylvania which was designed by famous architect Robert Venturi. If you look closely enough at the house, you can see some elements that reach back to previous architectural designs.

The front facade features a plain, square face and has a centrally located chimney that harks back to early colonial homes. While the windows themselves aren’t symmetrically placed like classically designed homes, the groupings of the windows around the central entryway suggest balance also found in colonial homes.

While the back of the home is dramatically different from the front, it still alludes to balance and symmetry with the placement of windows and doors off the chimney. The hipped roof may remind you of Mansard homes from the Victorian era, and the giant arched window pays homage to the Federalist homes of the past.

The amazing thing about Postmodern architecture is that no two structures look the same. Building or buying your own Postmodern house can add personality and individualism to your home and set it apart from all other houses on your block.

If you’re intrigued by Postmodern architecture and are excited to find your own unique home, check out our home buyer’s guide to get started in the home purchasing process! We can’t wait for you to embrace this style.

Do you still have questions about the Postmodern design? Let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, check out some of our past Zing articles to learn more about other popular American home styles:

That’s an Interesting Looking House: Colonial Style
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Classical Style
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Victorian Style
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Victorian Style Part II
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Prairie Style
That’s an Interesting Looking House: Bungalow Style

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