8 Postmodern Buildings That Proclaim “Less Is a Bore”

8 Postmodern Buildings That Proclaim “Less Is a Bore”

By Jenny Xie
From a cat-shaped kindergarten to a robot-like skyscraper, these postmodern buildings have a hearty sense of humor.

"Less is a bore," quipped American architect Robert Venturi in answer to Mies van der Rohe’s famous epigram. Venturi’s pronouncement is also the subtitle of a new book from Phaidon, Postmodern Architecture, a collection of more than 200 postmodern buildings the world over that wield color, ornament, and form in disarming, delightful ways. Below, we serve up our favorite examples that champion maximalism.

Studio Mutt: The Ordnance Pavilion, The Lake District, Cumbria, England, UK, 2018.

I am for richness of meaning rather than clarity of meaning; for the implicit function as well as the explicit function. I prefer "both—and" to "either—or," black and white, and sometimes gray, to black or white. A valid architecture evokes many levels of meaning and combinations of focus; its space and its elements become readable and workable in several ways at once.

—Robert Venturi

Camille Walala: Industry City Mural, Brooklyn, New York, USA, 2018.

Kengo Kuma: M2 Building, Tokyo, Japan, 1991. 

Sumet Jumsai: Robot Building, Bangkok, Thailand, 1986.

Our processes of conception must go beyond those of architecture and design, into the city, where the objects we may swipe are Rome, Las Vegas, Lagos, Tokyo, and Shanghai.

—Denise Scott Brown

WAM Architecten: Hotel Zaandam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2010.

Tomi Ungerer and Ayla Suzan Yöndel: Kindergarten Wolfartsweier, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2002.

Superficiality has depth if understood and accepted as the profound difficulty of human life.

—Alessandro Mendini

Mario Campi and Franco Pessina: Church of Our Lady of Fatima, Giova, Switzerland, 1989.

Charles Moore: Moore House, Austin, Texas, USA, 1984.

Postmodern Architecture: Less is a Bore
A curated collection of Postmodern architecture in all its glorious array of vivid non-conformity. This unprecedented book takes its subtitle from Postmodernist icon Robert Venturi's spirited response to Mies van der Rohe's dictum that 'less is more'.
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