Postmodern Architecture

While in Chicago, I had a wonderful time looking at the variety of architecture: art-deco, modern, and postmodern. I found the postmodern architecture fascinating because it shows how the postmodern religious discussions have often missed the point (or misrepresented postmodernity).

Case in point:

Similarities: Postmodern architecture tends to have things in common. First, they are still buildings. Secondly, they have three sections, though not uniform. Third, they do not have a pedestal, but rather come straight down to the street–art meets the canvas without a frame.

Function over Form: This building is not a wonderful example, but often PM architecture wishes to reveal how the building works (example: that trendy coffee shop with the exposed duct work).

Respect for Tradition: If you look closely, this building “tips it hat” to the modern building to its right by having an emblishment at the same level of its neighboring building’s roof.

These are just a few of the things one can notice when examining postmodern architecture…I think if alot of the religious folks better understood postmodernity in regards to these elements (at the very least) they would not be so fearful of the impending cultural shifts.

Similarities: it is not anything goes, you still have to have walls and windows, and certain norms that identify a building as a building. So too for postmodern religiosity.

Function over Form: rather than masking the necessary components such as steel, girders and duct work. Postmodern architecture reveals these innerworkings so that people can have a better understanding of it’s complexity. So too with postmodern theology (we embrace tension rather than rationalize it).

Respect for Tradition: Architects are will versed in what has occured before, and all new innovations have to spring forth from a earlier tradition. So as much as postmodern religious movements wish avoid tradition, it is an intregal part of being postmodern, which we should find creative ways to “tip our hats” modernity.

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