Viewing Architecture Through the Eyes of Famous Postmodern Architects

In art, architecture, literature and music, postmodernism is a word for many developments from and stylistic responses to modernism. Postmodernist architecture is a style which occurred as a reaction to modernism. What kind of reaction does modernism merit and does it deserve it at all? Learn more about postmodernism in architecture and most the prominent postmodern architects.

Charles Jencks referred to modernism as to the international style deriving from facts of the new means of construction and satisfactory to a new industrial culture. He also stated that the goal of modernism was the change of society, both in its social structure and taste. Being an "international" and a "universal" style, this movement is unwilling to historical and cultural context considerations.

Consequently, a modernist architect, in general, does not take into account the architectural and socio-cultural traditions, symbols, customs of the people for whom he is building. He is particularly unwilling to consider historical traditions in his work. Certainly, modernism declares that architecture should not contain any indication to historical styles.

Indeed, modernist architecture envisages itself as architecture beyond any styles, moreover outside the very thought of style. There are certain resemblances between modernist and postmodern architects. Definitely, 'traditional' postmodern architects sound surprisingly like modernists.

Classical explanation of postmodernism was made by Charles Jencks in 1978. He characterized postmodernist architecture as "double coding": the mixture of Modern techniques with traditional construction so postmodern architects could communicate with the society and an anxious minority, as a rule, other architects.
Craig Ellwood is one of the well-known postmodern architects. He was born in Texas in 1922. Ellwood had a job as a cost estimator in a construction firm in Los Angeles. At the same time he attended night classes at the California University at LA Extension Division. One year before graduation he founded Craig Ellwood Associates in Los Angeles.

Craig Ellwood gained knowledge of building in plastic and steel prior to studying architecture. As a result he understood steel construction much better than other postmodern architects. Ellwood's works united the use of steel with scrupulous detailing and excellent craftsmanship.

In the nineteen sixties, Ellwood was greatly influenced by the uncomplicated architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Yet, aesthetically, Ellwood was nearer to Charles Eames' light-steel cages than to the structural pedantry of Mies van der Rohe.

Raphael Soriano, born in 1907, died in 1988 was one of the early postmodern architects and a gifted advocate of the innovative construction materials and building techniques created at that time. He worked in postwar period in Los Angeles. Soriano was an important participant of the informal team of architects. This team, apart from Raphael Soriano himself also included Pierre Koenig, Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Neutra, Eero Saarinen and Craig Ellwood.

Although his name is not famous nowadays, Soriano had a big influence on other postmodern architects at his time and was newly discovered by these modern-day professionals for his pioneering use of aluminum and steel and his interest in low-priced, prefabricated structures. Over twenty of Soriano's constructions have been destroyed and many others modified beyond recognition.

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