Britain’s Postmodern Architecture

November 10 2017 | By Jenny Brewer for It’s Nice That
Britain’s most iconic postmodern buildings are a riot of colour and anti-function

(Image Above: John Outram Associates: Judge Business School, Trumpington Street, Cambridge Designed 1991–2, built 1993–5. Image © Pat Payne / Historic England)

Postmodernist architecture will always be a divisive genre, which is precisely what makes those who love it, love it more. Beginning in the late 1970s as a reaction to modernist principles of form follows function, postmodernism in buildings manifested as a riot of tropical colours and the fusing of contemporary and classical decoration. Geraint Franklin and Elain Harwood, authors of new book Post-modern Buildings in Britain, call the eclectic results, at their best “individual and adventurous”.

“By the 1970s there was a widespread sense of a crisis in modernism,” the authors state in the book’s introduction. “The high-tech of Richard Rogers and Norman Foster, new materials such as plastics and principles of sustainable architecture all offered a way out. The decade also witnessed a revived use of brick that led to explorations into neo-vernacular, Arts and Crafts traditions, classicism and conservation.”

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