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Postmodern Architecture Paper

Paper: Postmodernist Architecture

This paper assignment requires you to explore, visually and digitally, one of three postmodern buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area. One is an art museum, one is a scientific institution, and one is a cathedral. Do you remember one of the criticisms, that all of the significant conversations in the era of Postmodernism were finished, save for those about art, science, and spirituality? This has guided our select list.

Research one of these choices (both visually and with supporting articles), but primarily, apply you own interpretations in a descriptive postmodern analysis. Remember that these mature works of postmodernism, as compared to earlier manifestations, may be significantly more sophisticated and multivalent (or layered).

Assignment Description:
Execute a Postmodern analysis of one of three architectural examples in the Bay Area.

The choices are:

The de Young Museum by Herzog and de Meuron in Golden Gate Park, or
The Academy of Science by Renzo Piano, also in Golden Gate Park, or
The Cathedral of Christ the Light (Oakland Cathedral) by Craig Hartman of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill near the 19th St. Bart station in Oakland at Harrison and Grand Streets.

All of these examples are early 21st century postmodern expressions.

A successful essay will answer the question,

“How is my choice of architecture postmodern?”

Therefore, it will define Postmodernism with those characteristics applied in the essay. Many of the characteristics of Postmodernism have been spelled out in the module already, others can be found in Venturi’s writings, as well as your text by Amy Dempsey (chapter on Postmodernism). The essay should employ a working definition of Postmodernism, and original descriptive observation and analysis in order to prove the thesis that one of these edifies is postmodern. For example, if you wish to apply the characteristic of \”fabulism/fantasy,” then you should find a feature of the design that exhibits fabulism and or fantasy. All sources should be cited in a bibliography. As a benchmark, the essay should be about five pages of text, double-spaced, plus accompanying embedded images. The format should be either .doc(x) or PDF.

1. Double spaced and typed
2. Check grammar and spelling
3. Number the pages
4. No less than 5 pages of written text
5. Bibliography and quotation citings of books, articles etc.

Let\’s give a few more pointers, so you get an idea about how to approach the paper. Use those for inspiration, and find additional topics to research.

If you should choose the de Young Museum, here are a few suggestions of features to consider in your analysis:

The structure’s footprint
The materials used
Landscaping/art (including the Pool of Enchantment, the Sculpture Garden, Andy Goldsworthy’s Faultline, the Education Tower, the mural in the lobby by Conrad Richter, the Connections Gallery, etc.)

For the Academy of Science, you may want to address:

The façade
The roofline
The functions of the structure
The sculpture by May Lin, etc.

For the Cathedral, you might want to include:

The footprint
The shapes at the façade
The oculus
The space behind the altar
The materials, use of light
Why this particular location was chosen in Oakland

Category: Essays

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