This course aims to answer the questions: What was and what is postmodernism in architecture? Postmodernism should not be seen as a style, but rather as a condition that arose out of the ahistorical, acontextual, self-referential, materialistic modernism that prevailed in the post-WWII era. By pushing aside history, context, and social concerns, modernism of that period exhausted itself of its potential, and restive architects incorporated figuration and representation as they sought to make the discipline more responsive to the wide expanse of popular culture. However, postmodernism was not intended as a repudiation of modernism, but as an evolution and corrective action. The course is primarily concerned with architecture (as chronicled by Charles Jencks in his 1977 book, The Language of Post-Modern Architecture) and key texts by architects, such as Robert Venturi, Aldo Rossi, and James Stirling. Students explore a number of architects who have been overlooked and deserve renewed consideration. This seminar is motivated by conditions in contemporary practice, including the renewed interest in the postmodernism of the previous generation and in the return of precedent to the design process.

All Semesters

Spring 2018
After the Modern Movement
Robert A.M. Stern