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modernism – postmodernism -beyond?

January 24, 2005


This is the villa Savoy. It is an icon of Modernism (at least to Architects). The building was designed by LeCorbusier (not even his real name). It is put forth as an “honest” building. It follows the modern “form follows function” Some examples are that the columns in this building come in two varieties. Round for areas of movement and square for areas where movement does not occur. The Modern architect might have windows of various sizes not worrying about uniformity on the exterior but about reflecting the function inside.


Along comes Postmodernism. In architecture that came some time ago. This image is of Charles Moore’s Piazza de Italia in New Orleans. At this stage of postmodernism architects desperate for a zeitgeist (spirit of the age) looked back to ancient architecture and felt they could use pieces of this and use them in non traditional ways. Here a Column can be Corinthian but be chrome not stone and it is not part of an order (a systematic assemblage with certain proportions being law). That is a column in a historic “order” is part of a whole, it has an entablature made up of parts and they all relate to each other. The column is x times high as it is wide at its base; the entablature is x time the diameter of the column in its height, and so on. Architects were rejecting this modernism and its rationality. The more irrational the better it seemed at times.

This is one of many of Frank Gehry’s designs. I am not sure what we are calling these today. But in the line of architectural thought people started de-constructing. And I remember another famous architect telling me about representing our fractured society in buildings.
Here is the Guggenheim in Spain

It seems the world of architecture is now moving more toward sensual, tactile statements than that of ideas. I could be way of base on all this but my reason for bringing this up is not architecture but how the Church is engaging in this debate of modern and postmodern.

I think we can learn some things and maybe relate through architecture.

The remaining photos are of buildings that are mostly concerned with material and site and how a person interacts with the previous.

I will write more on this but maybe the photos will get your mind turning.

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