If one were toask what is post-modernism, one might be stuck in the loop as there is no legitdefinition to the term nor the exact time of when the concept started. Thinkers,philosophers describe it differently and it became several things at once. Manywould agree on that it is a movement, a global transformation on arts,philosophy, design, architecture which happened after the modernism period fromthe mid to late 20th century. Jean-FrançoisLyotard categorized postmodern as “incredulity towards metanarratives” meaningan abandonment of all things explained historically and universally based onreasons, truth, science, etc. with globalization, different experiences andcultural backgrounds, theories on interpreting the world may not be relevant toall people; hence, there is no absolute truth.
Facts are blurred,self-realization are praised, opinions matter. Postmoderncharacteristics are in the form of any reactions and rejection towardmodernism. In architecture, Roberts Venturi expressed it as “complexity andcontradiction”, buildings are accumulating from various forms, unrelated colorsand textures, with combinations of new elements and pastime features. Thecontrast in such manners introduced a new style in architecture. The buildingscan also be fragmentized its space into several different functions making itappear as small town or village. Asymmetrical form and color are alsosignificant traits of postmodernism, they offer variety and personalities tobuilding, a method in avoiding the modernism label which some claims it to beformal and boring. Rules areabandoned and self-expression is key.
Jean-FrançoisLyotard wrote: “apostmodern artist or writer is in the position of a philosopher: the text hewrites, the work he produces are not in principle governed by pre-establishedrules, and they cannot be judged according to a determining judgment, byapplying familiar categories to the text or to the work. Those rules andcategories are what the work of art itself is looking for. The artist and thewriter, then, are working without rules in order to formulate the rules of whatwill have been done.” Such spirit created diversity of expression and style inmany factors, architecture included. Frombreaking free from the norm, architecture in postmodernism emphasizes more on,aesthetic form, style and design in order to create new means of designingbuilding rather than the function which was deeply practiced during modernism.
Thefreedom of expression creates a more free form, sculptural like and non-architecturalstructure in buildings and layout in Public spaces, abandoning the formal ruleof style. Some were inspired from onesingle source of unusual item one would find odd in style and some from varioussources combining to establish a new unique and decorative buildings. One bigtrend in postmodernism is shopping mall in which its whole function and layoutare different from traditional market. The concept of it being in a huge closedspace, like a city inside the city, where one can find almost everything withinthe interior fabric is quite a transformation in public space and social life.
Oneexample of postmodern building is No1 Pultry located in London. It was designedby architect James Stirling and was completed in 1997. The function of buildingare not what a conventional and classical building would serve since it holdsvarious purposes such as retail shops, offices, restaurant and even a manicuredroof garden. The style is somewhat bold and unsubtle for it drew from diversinspiration, a foremost characteristic of postmodern architecture.
First off, thepointed front façade consists of clock tower with a standing tall flag and thebalcony behind appears as though it was a front of a ship, a titanic, whereJack and Rose look out to the horizon. The building assembled from severalshapes with the other 2 sided long facades comprise of layers alternatingbetween angled and curve form and distinctive striped of pink stone. Otherreference includes the ancient Egyptian aura at the entry corridor and themimics of Greek and Roman rostral columns. Inside, there is cylinder shapedcourtyard, with irregular colored windows and wall forming another shape, atriangular light-well.
Various design elements seem to propose an idea ofchildren toys with playful combinations of shapes, forms, colors and patterns.Sterling rejected No 1 Pultry being label as a postmodern building; however, hedid admitted that the style was a result from avoiding the “grey” architecturalmainstream.