Postmodern Theories and Texts   Charles Jencks, "The Postmodern Agenda"
image taken from ICA
from Jencks, Charles, ed. The Post-Modern Reader.  New York: St Martin's Press, 1992.
--For Jencks, the key concept of Postmodernism is pluralism, which Background: Charles Jencks is the first to theorize postmodernism from the perspective of architecture.  Unlike Jameson or Terry Eagleton, he takes a positive view at Postmodernism.
Different Definitions Pluralism & Postmodern conditions Periodization and the Modern
Historical Development
Postmodern Architecture 
A Chinese intro

Examples of Postmodern Architecture:Western Postmodern Architecture, Postmodern Architecture in Taipei AdHoc Urbanism without Planning? Postmodern or RoyalEast Area in order and disorder?  Hsin-Chuang's Shopping Plaza


I. Postmodernism: Different Kinds and Different Definitions

Jencks see the "postmodernism Lyotard define as "Late Modern" : "the exaggerated and incessantly revolutionary form of Modernism"  For Jencks, postmodernism "hybridises" modernism by "[reweaving] the recent modern past and local culture." (p. 16) II. Pluralism (Related Concepts: Binarism & Modernist Elitism) p. 11
 & the Postmodern conditions (also called: civilization or postmodernity) --positive and negative tendencies--p. 13

pluralism--and binariness                  p. 11
Post-modernism means the end of a single worl view, and, by extension, 'a war on totality', a resistance to single explanations, a respect for difference and a celebration of the regional, local and particular.  Yet in its suffix 'modern', it still carries the burden of a process which is international and in some senses universal.  In this sense it has a permanent tension and is always hybrid, mixed, ambiguous, . . . 'double-coded."

p. 11-12  . . .the post-modern trends and shifts . . .do not mean the triumph of a single alternative: . . .

--a restructuring of modernist assumption with something larger, fuller, more true.

against binaries---relative relativism: the continuum, net, rhizome and pattern recognition
oppositional terms in postmodern theory--purpose vs. play, centring vs. dispersal, signified vs. signifier
. . . the shift from one the the next is not a reversal, not an opposition; rather it is a hybridisation, a complexification of modern elements with other ones.. . .

purpose--to overcome elitism inherent  in the previous paradigm.  elitism in literature?

The Postmodern Condition: positive (and the negative): the increase in communication (and the information glut and advertisement), the growth of knowledge (and the consumer society), the rise of leisure (and of Disneyland simulacra), the flowering of Post-Fordism (and the insecurity of workers), the emergence of a new world order (and the Pax Americana), the EC, GATT and global economy (and the Third World Debt and IMF riots) --for every positive post-modern trend there is a corresponding negative consequence.

III. Postmodernism: Periodization and Its Relationships with the Modern pp. 10; 11

p. 15 --sublation, or Hegelian dialectic which resolves contraries, is not always the result or goal of post-modernism: parts, sub-assemblies, sub-cultures often keep their unassimilated identity within the new whole.  Hence the conflicted nature of the pluralism, the radical eclecticism of the post-modern style./ IV. Postmodernism: Historical Development
different stages: p. 17
1. 1870s to 1950: prehistory
2. 1950s to 1970s: Postmodern seen as Modern in decline
3. 1960s:  Post-Modern as the Counter-culture of the 1960s--e.g. Pop Art and Adhocism (James Rosenquist's F111)
4. 1970s and early 1980s:  Post-Modern as pluralist politics and eclectic style
5. 1979 to the present: Post-Modern Classicism, a public language
6. 1980 to the presen: Critical Reactions to the condition of Postmodernity
7. 1988 to the present: Critical summaries of the Post-Modern Paradigm.

What Jencks considers to be postmodern:

His examples of Late Modernism: William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Samuel Beckettt, John Cage,

Postmodern Architecture

"Modernism . . . is progressivist in architecture and reactionary in other disciplines. . . " (43, Jencks 1996)

The newness of the modern movement would lie principally in forms of reduction, simplification, and concentration.  Line, space and form were to be pared to their essentials and the self-sufficient functionality of every building frankly proclaimed.
--expression of the principle of unity and essential meaning.

Architectural modernism had its beginnings in the upsurge of utopian architectural theory and practice in the early years of the century.  This revolution was centred primarily upon the Bauhaus school founded in Germany in 1919, and the ideas of the Bauhaus found expression in the work and writing of Walter Gropius, Henri Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.
(the key figures involved in it including the founder Walter Gropius, his successor Mies van der Rohe)

--For Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architecture was to serve as the single most powerful expression of the Ziegeist; in being thoroughly itself, . . ."Architecture depends on its time,' he wrote.  'It is the crystallization of its inner structure, the slow unfolding of its form.'
--visible expression of the new unity of art, science and industry.
univalence--The univalent building is one which advertizes its simplicity of forms, insisting on the one theme which dominates its construction.  This is achieved by the device of repetition. . .The univalence of the modernist building seems to establish its absolute self-sufficiency, as an ideal principle made solid and visible. --exclusion--should not "mean" but "be."

pm. architecture--a return to the sense of meaningful or referential function of architecture.
--A renewed awareness of the suppressed linguistic or connotative dimension in architecture.

The language of pm architecture: neo-vernacularism, allegory(the use of metaphor), Neo-Classicism (Free-Style Classicism; the classicism that shows grandeur, elegance, solemnity, monumentality, but without ideal proportion; p. 28-29).

Online Resources: