VIC101H1 Lecture Notes - Yinka Shonibare, Frank Gehry, El Anatsui

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
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December 5, 2012
Modernist vs. Postmodernist Architecture
- Modernist characteristics: steel frame with flat roof; internal steel structure; rectangular; ability
to have glass curtain wall (because of steel frame, don’t need something to hold up sides)
- Guggenheim - clean lines, flat roof, use of concrete = very important building material - early
20th century
- Postmodernist characteristics (Venturi 1966): less is a bore; wants to bring back ornament,
necessity for ornamentation - not just beautiful, clean lines
- Hybrid rather than pure elements; ambiguous rather than articulated; perverse and interesting
=> better to have elements that don’t go together than be interesting; complexity and
contradiction
- Move away from functionalism
- Pluralist and diverse
- Architect has to be sensitive to context - what goes on around the site
- Modernist building: look at me, I’m alone; you don’t need to look at anything else
- Postmodernist building: considers context, what’s around the site
- Michael Graves: Rejection of modernist principles of 20th century; pyramidal shape/design
format (classical architecture)
- Something other than featureless glass towers
- AT&T/Sony Building Philip Johnson: double-coding = buildings convey many simultaneous
meanings -- resembles modernist architecture (steel structure, rectangular, tall) - but has
flourish at the top - open at the top and not flat roof => topped with classical form
- Postmodernist architecture - wit, irony in design
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- Frank Gehry - Beach House - made of mundane materials; working in vernacular (everyday) -
made of small ornamental materials, fanciful - like getting on a ship, turn a wheel to open
windows, bridge to get to rest of the house (rather than sparse, stripped-down modernist
houses) => Gehry quotes neighbour’s house - bright use of colours (often pastels) - sculptural
rather than architectural detail (logs at front of the house)
- Gehry: considers buildings as sculpture; resembles Rauschenberg’s ripped assemblage
sculpture
- Venturi: context - architect’s relation to materials; cultural context
- American Center - mirrored Paris (Cubist forms) - sculptural forms - no real function except for
beauty and whimsy
- Guggenheim Bilbao - titanium, wild shapes - references/quotes Wright’s sweeping curves but
reinterprets them as scales, takes orderliness and disorders it; interconnecting shapes -
limestone and titanium; glass curtain walls interact
- From a distance it looks like a huge work of sculpture
- Humana Building - Graves - classical forms; return of the column but not just neoclassical
architecture; postmodernism: column was revived for aesthetic purposes
- No integration - Graves sought hybridity so they’d be juxtaposed rather than integrated; no
clean look, unification => in a good postmodern building, you can’t take it in all at once;
your eye moves from place to place
- Graves worked into Louisville city space - contrast
- James Stirling - Staatsgaleri - connected quirky materials into historical building, typography of
the land itself; different types of stone arranged in stripes
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Document Summary

Modernist characteristics: steel frame with flat roof; internal steel structure; rectangular; ability to have glass curtain wall (because of steel frame, don"t need something to hold up sides) Guggenheim - clean lines, flat roof, use of concrete = very important building material - early. Postmodernist characteristics (venturi 1966): less is a bore; wants to bring back ornament, necessity for ornamentation - not just beautiful, clean lines. Hybrid rather than pure elements; ambiguous rather than articulated; perverse and interesting. => better to have elements that don"t go together than be interesting; complexity and contradiction. Architect has to be sensitive to context - what goes on around the site. Modernist building: look at me, i"m alone; you don"t need to look at anything else. Postmodernist building: considers context, what"s around the site. Michael graves: rejection of modernist principles of 20th century; pyramidal shape/design format (classical architecture) Postmodernist architecture - wit, irony in design.

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