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1965 - Present: Postmodern (Pomo) Homes

Houses Designed to Delight

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Unique, whimsical, and surprising, Postmodern houses give the impression that anything goes. The impossible is not only possible, but exaggerated.
The Vanna Venturi House by Pritzker Prize Laureate Robert Venturi

The Vanna Venturi House by Pritzker Prize Laureate Robert Venturi

Pritzker Prize Image

Postmodern houses have many of these features:

  • Sense of "anything goes": Forms filled with humor, irony, ambiguity, contradiction
  • Juxtaposition of styles: Blend of traditional, contemporary, and newly-invented forms
  • Exaggerated or abstract traditional detailing
  • Materials or decorations drawn from far away sources

About the Postmodern Style

Postmodern (or post-modern) architecture evolved from Modernism, yet it rebels against that style. Modernism is viewed as excessively minimalist, anonymous, monotonous, and boring. Postmodernism has a sense of humor. The style often combines two or more very different elements. A Postmodern house may combine traditional with invented forms or use familiar shapes in surprising, unexpected ways. In other words, postmodern houses often don't have anything in common with one another, other than their lack of commonality. Postmodern houses may be bizarre, humorous, or shocking, but they are always unique.

Sometimes the term Postmodern is loosely used to describe Neoeclectic and Neotraditional homes that combine a variety of historic styles. However, unless there is a sense of surprise, irony, or originality, Neoeclectic and Neotraditional homes are not truly postmodern. Postmodern houses are also sometimes called "Contemporaries," but a true Contemporary Style house does not incorporate traditional or historical architectural details.

Postmodern Architects

Further Reading:

  • Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
    In this groundbreaking book, published in 1966, Robert Venturi challenged modernism and celebrated the mix of historic styles in great cities like Rome. (Compare Prices)
  • Learning from Las Vegas
    Subtitled "The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form," this postmodernist classic called the "vulgar billboards" of the Vegas Strip emblems for a new architecture. Published in 1972, the book was written by Robert Venturi, Steven Izenour, and Denise Scott Brown. (Compare Prices)

Related Styles:

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Characteristics of the Postmodern Home Style
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