Postmodernism, with few notable exceptions, has quickly become dated for a number of reasons. Like most sarcasm and jokey banter, it loses much in the re-telling. "I guess you just had to be there". Also, with many modernists retracing their roots to the more hopeful Bauhaus, glass and light look and away from brutalism and structuralism, the postmodernists have lost their 1980s monopoly on ‘modern’ structures that don’t make you want to top yourself.
Below is one of my favorite post-modernist hate objects, No. 1 Poultry.
Before anyone sez they "kinda like it", I suggest brief perusal of my previous rant/post on objectivity in architectural quality.
I dislike the overwrought contrast of the two different claddings in bold pajama stripes, the pseudo-nautical, pseudo-art deco allusions at the 'prow' of the building.
This building even compares unfavorably to the one below, albeit a modernist pseudo-organicist corner building that looks constructed out of dinosaur ribs and alien spaceship portholes. At least ‘dinosaur-alien’ building is crisply white(ish) and
easy to read.
But..corner sites are tough!! (you say)
These gentlemen seemed to be able to handle it with some aplomb (this building is basically across the Poultry horror, between Cornhill and Lombard St. It features in a common 19th century print of the nearby Bank of England and Royal Exchange I have at home.
Back to our whipping boy. While the frontal fenestration is ample (if artless), further along the sides, the architect decided to go for a fortress-like look. To the best of my knowledge this serves no practical purpose other than depriving the building’s inmates of natural light
Conversely, below you can see the back of the Bank of England. The bottom two stories HAVE to be fortress-like (as they contain vast bullion and currency deposits), but the architect atones for it with almost Wren-like elegance (critics might say bombast) in the upper stories.
They even regale us (just off to the right in the preceding picture) with this little jewel of a detail.
In the ‘old’ thread on this topic, “chukky “ wrote:
“I’m getting where your coming from, but could we have an example... an ordinary insignfigant corner building, that you approve of, built in the last twenty years? For arguments sake?”
I’ve got a couple I could think of in London but don’t have pics right now. They are admittedly very small scale.
1. The public loos/florist shop on Ladbroke Grove
2. The Caffe’ Nero (or is it Starbucks?) on the corner of Kensington High Street and Allen Street.
I ‘approve’ of both, though they are not great by any means.