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The Story of Post-modernism: Five Decades of the Ironic, Iconic and Critical in Architecture

The Story of Post-modernism: Five Decades of the Ironic, Iconic and Critical in Architecture

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By (author) Charles Jencks

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  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 190mm x 244mm x 20mm | 880g
  • Publication date: 22 November 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Chichester
  • ISBN 10: 0470688955
  • ISBN 13: 9780470688953
  • Edition: 2
  • Edition statement: 2nd New ed.
  • Sales rank: 301,180

Product description

In The Story of Post-Modernism , Charles Jencks, the authority on Post-Modern architecture and culture, provides the defining account of Post-Modern architecture from its earliest roots in the early 60s to the present day. By breaking the narrative into seven distinct chapters, which are both chronological and overlapping, Jencks charts the ebb and flow of the movement, the peaks and troughs of different ideas and themes. The book is highly visual. As well as providing a chronological account of the movement, each chapter also has a special feature on the major works of a given period. The first up-to-date narrative of Post-Modern Architecture - other major books on the subject were written 20 years ago. An accessible narrative that will appeal to students who are new to the subject, as well as those who can remember its heyday in the 70s and 80s.

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Author information

Charles Jencks is an American architectural theorist, author and landscape architect. He has written widely on Post-Modern and Modern architecture. His bestselling book The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977) popularised Post-Modernism in architecture and made him the leading author on the subject in the 70s and 80s. He is the founder of the Maggie Centres with his late wife Maggie Keswick, a charity that has become influential for its enlightened provision of uplifting environments for cancer care, designed by some of the world's most renowned architects. Jencks writes and lectures internationally on architecture and landscape design.

Review quote

'The Power of the book lies not so much in the sharpness of the author's criticism of the present as in the generosity and perceptiveness of his anticipation of the future'. Arichitectural Review, Nov 2011. 'Charles Jencks's summary of the post-modern architectural movement promises clarity and straightforwardness. There is a little of each but not too much'. Country Living, Nov 2011

Back cover copy

In the late 20th century, Post-Modernism was the leading global movement in architecture. It questioned the assumption of a single style and cultural totality and effectively stopped the Modern Movement in its tracks. In 1972, this was symbolised by the demolition of Pruitt-Igoe Housing in St Louis, Missouri, the first large-scale modernist housing scheme to be blown up by public demand. Following further detonations, a positive set of traditions flowed into the growing Post-Modern stream, and the pluralist philosophy so active today. Notable were Contextualism and Radical Eclecticism, Post-Modern Classicism and Regionalism, the Heteropolis and the new level of public engagement in city development. After twenty years of success, and then the inevitable commercial rips-offs, Post-Modern architecture succumbed to ersatz, debased by fashion as other leading movements before it. Yet, in another historical turn at the Millennium, plural cultures sought a richer identity than the Minimalism on offer and the result was the second great flowering of Post-Modernism. Now, much aided by the computer and the worldwide web this tradition re-emerged in an outburst of iconic architecture, a patterned ornament driven by digitisation and the complexity paradigm, which has provided the larger ecological and cosmic picture. Ironically, subtracted of its Post-Modern label, this richer architecture again flourishes as the alternative to a mechanistic modernism.In "The Story of Post-Modernism, " Charles Jencks, an authority on the subject, provides a lively and accessible account of Post-Modern architecture from its roots in the early 60s to the present day. In an evolutionary diagram, Jencks charts the variety of streams that now make up the river delta and discusses the main characters from James Stirling to Frank Gehry and Herzog & de Meuron.

Table of contents

PREFACE Post-Modernism Resurgent? The Back Story Some Debts Acknowledged And Especially Madelon PART I The Perfect Storm of Post-Modernism The Moral Failures of Modernism The Recurrent Deaths of Modernism The Triumph of Nothingness Revisionists and Le Corbusier Lead the Revolt Complexity and Double-Coding - the First Post-Modern Synthesis The Shape of History - Big, Medium and Small Waves PART II Searching for Difference, Finding Commonality Global Pluralism Radical Eclecticism, the First Response to Homogeneity Contextual Counterpoint Post-Modern Classicism - the Ironic International Style Media Events and Money A Diversion on Cost and Taste James Stirling Synthesises Contextualism and Pluralism The Complexity Paradigm Extended Modernists Becoming Post-Modern Time-Binding Opposites PART III Towards a Critical Modernism What is a City? - a Complex Adaptive System Heterotopias and the Heteropolis Expressively Green and Inexpensive Rem Koolhaas, Steven Holl, Toyo Ito and the Porous Route Building Peter Eisenman, the Landform and the Critical-Creative PART IV Complexity and Nature's Ornament The Complexity Paradigm Fractal Architecture and the Metaphysics of Seamless Continuity Opening up the White Cube Four Degrees of Ornament PART V The Coming of the Cosmic Icons The Iconic Building and its Discontents The Bilbao Effect Multiple Meaning and Enigmatic Signifiers Worthy Icons? Paranoia, Veiled Themes and Cosmic Iconology Premature Conclusion: the Iconology of Post-Modernism? Notes A Post-Modern Bibliography