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Architecture & Design, Exhibitions & Events

CultureCritic: The five best postmodern buildings in the UK

As the Postmodernism: Style and Subversion exhibition opens at the V&A Museum, A&AJ Press was invited by leading arts information source CultureCritic to select the best five best postmodern buildings in the UK. A&AJ chose architecture  by Ian Pollard, FAT, Will Alsop, Branson Coates, Terry Farrell, and CZWG.

Ian Pollard Architects – Homebase, Kensington
(1988)195 Warwick Road, London

CZWG Architects – Westbourne Grove Public Lavatories (1994)

Branson Coates Architecture Ltd – The National Centre for Popular Music (1999)Now The HUBS, Sheffield

Will Alsop – Chips Building, and FAT – Woodward Place (2004), New Islington, Manchester

Terry Farrell and Partners – SIS Building (1994)85 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall, London

Postmodernism in architecture was a term coined by Charles Jencks to represent the end of the modern era, reflecting the idea “that an architect has to consider different cultural tastes in his blueprints”. Jencks proposed that rigorous economic and engineering-focused modernism stopped in 1972, and the more generous, humanist postmodern aesthetic allowed symbolic architectural decoration, historical eclecticism and a pluralist, pick’n’mix appropriation of architectural styles. Notable postmodernist buildings in London include the James Stirling & Partners Clore Galleries at Tate Britain and No. 1 Poultry; Venturi, Scott Brown’s Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery. Terry Farrell and Partners worked closely on the symbolic cosmography of Charles Jencks’ house in Notting Hill, and more publicly on Charing Cross Station and the MI6 Building. The spirit of postmodernism continues with the development of Charles Jencks’ programme of Maggies Cancer Caring Centres, which commissions individualistic, holistic, symbolic buildings by architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Michael Hopkins, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Kisho Kurokawa. A noteworthy element of postmodernism is the idiosyncratic iconic architecture of Nigel Coates, Will Alsop and FAT.

Images: FAT; Ian Pollard; CZWG; Branson Coates,The HUBS. © Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under thisCreative Commons Licence; Will Alsop; Terry Farrell, MI6 Building. © Copyright Danny Robinson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Read the full text at CultureCritic….



About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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