Postmodern architecture arose in the 1960s to emphasize the return of ornament and historical reference in architecture. Postmodern architecture seeks to combat the bland, functional forms that had been created over the last half a century. Ornamentation and decoration appear for its own sake. The public, who had too often become disgruntled with bleak, modern forms, could find a superficial sense of history and comfort in these new forms. Postmodernism became increasingly popular throughout the 1970s and continues into today. In Postmodern architecture, historic styles are juxtaposed in new and untraditional ways, often in a whimsical, witty, or ironic manner.
The architecture is often “double-coded,” part modern and part traditional to communicate with the public and architects alike. Postmodern structures are also meant to fit into the context of surrounding buildings, whereas earlier modern structures had sought to stand out from the environment. Postmodern structures allude to historic forms and details, but with modern materials. Applied traditional ornamentation is often exaggerated or abstracted to create new forms. Sculptural forms and surface ornament are reintroduced into architecture. Ornamentation is often coupled with one or more symbolic meanings, double coding, irony, or paradox. Splashes of color are often interlaced in designs. Postmodern structures are found in residential, commercial, and public designs.
- Architectural details applied in Non-conventional ways
- Historic Forms drawn from classic designs or popular culture
- Complex roof shapes; Reappearance of figural crowns
- Use of applied surface ornament
- Historic reference in decorative details
- Splashes of color incorporated into design
- Use of sculptural forms and ornament and imply humor, irony, paradoxes and contextualism
- Exaggerated or abstracted
- Traditional detailing