The Resurgence of Postmodern Architecture

Grayson Perry and FAT's House for Essex (2015) is one example of the revival in Postmodern architecture.

According to the pundits, Postmodern architecture is experiencing a “revival,” and despite its critics, the design theme is far from long-gone. In fact, it is a style being adopted by many contemporary architects and designers.

Postmodern architecture emerged in the late 1960s as a reaction to the Modernism style, which gained popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. Modernism in architecture was intended to better reflect the experience and values of modern industrial life; it morphed into and included the Mid-Century Modern architectural trend that evolved between the years of 1945-1965.

At a certain point in the 1960’s, Modernism seemed to lose its luster and Postmodernism evolved as an escape from what some considered the monotony of Modernism. It offered an alternative to Modernism’s more entrenched ideals and rigidity of design conventions. Postmodern architecture was, and is, more expressive, more flexible, more integrative; it took the minimalism of Mid-Century Modern and dressed it up with color and patterns; it embraced many architectural styles, cultures and whimsical features.

Postmodern architects Philip Johnson, Michael Graves and Charles Moore incorporated neoclassical designs into their work; Terry Farrell combined Aztec design with green glazing in London; James Stirling threw pink-painted metal pipes against travertine in Stuttgart; Arata Isozaki combined high-tech with traditional design elements.

In a recent CNN piece, Owen Hopkins, a senior curator at Sir John Sloane’s Museum and author of Architecture and Freedom: Searching for Agency in a Changing World, posited that, “While Modernism had sought to draw a line under the past, Postmodernism used the past as a quarry of sources, references and quotations, deploying them with wit, irony and irreverence. After decades of being mute, architecture was allowed to speak again through color, ornament, decoration.”  Hopkins firmly believes that Postmodernism is back (assuming it ever really went away) and that it continues to inspire the architects of today.

Designer Adam Nathanial Furman agreed with this position in a recent interview with Dezeen. A founder of the Postmodern Society, Furman is an expert on late-20th-century style and just authored a book with Terry Farrell – the architect responsible for several postmodernist icons built in the 1980s. Their book, Revisiting Postmodernism, showcases some recent examples of the postmodern resurgence such as MVRDV’s market hall in Rotterdamn (2014).

Market Hall in Rotterdamn (2014)

While we ponder why postmodern architecture is making a comeback (could it be the chaotic, complex, global nature of the design world today?), the following is a look at some classic examples of Postmodern design, both past and present.

SIS Building in London. Photo: George Rex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Architect Terry Farrell’s SIS building in London (1994), which is also known as the MI6 building, may be the pinnacle of British postmodernism.  Its Mayan and Aztec temple design creates a layered fortress and incorporates 60 open-air terraces into its design – as well as triple-glazed windows and buttressed protection against bombs.

Modernism meets ancient Mediterranean architecture at the Clos Pegase Winery in Napa Valley, California, designed by Michael Graves. Another of his creations, the Hyatt Regency Fukuoka in Japan, embraces a vast pyramid structure, is naturally lit from above, and encircled by a rotunda of hotel rooms.

Clos Pegase Winery in Napa, California and the Hyatt Regency Fukuoka in Japan

The Kreeger Art Musuem in Washington DC (1963) by Philip Johnson with Richard Foster  was previously a residence. It is located in a wooded park of over five acres, with layered arches inspired by a Roman aqueduct design.

Kreeger Art Museum in Washington D.C. Photo: Payton Chung

Binoculars Building by Frank Gehry –Venice, Los Angeles (1991). Photo: Grant Mudford

 

 

 

 

 

 


STO Introduces Ultra-Compact TurboStick Mini

Sto's popular Turbostick is now available in an ultra-lightweight, ultra-compact mini-version.

Sto Corp. has recently introduced Sto TurboStick® Mini, an ultra-lightweight, ultra-compact adhesive delivery system with terrific advantages over traditional cement-based adhesives. The Mini version of TurboStick now gives applicators a choice of two convenient sizes – either cartridge or cylinder — when applying Sto’s ready-to-use, single component adhesive for installing insulation boards in exterior wall claddings like StoTherm ci and ci XPS.

Unlike more traditional cementitious adhesives, Sto TurboStick doesn’t require mixing or extended drying time. It goes on easier, cures in just two hours, and generally outperforms other adhesive systems. It is also lightweight – so no heavy lifting is required to hoist it onto scaffolding; applicators simply screw in the hose and squeeze the trigger.

The Sto TurboStick Mini is easy to use and offers the fastest application of any adhesive, cutting the cure time from a full day to just a single hour. The Sto TurboStick Mini cartridge weighs just 26.3 oz. and covers 110 – 130 square feet of wall surface.

In addition to saving time, using Sto TurboStick can also save money. By cutting the cure time from a full day to two hours, and taking less time to stage materials, projects can finish faster, saving on labor costs. And with the Mini version providing additional convenience and efficiency, Turbostick offers the fastest application time of any PU-foam adhesive. Click here for StoTurbostick brochure 2018


New Improved StoGuard® Simplfies Application

New improved StoGuard® simplfies application for fluid-applied air and moisture barrier systems.

StoGuard has always been a preferred fluid-applied air and moisture barrier system for applicators. It can be used with any cladding and forms a fully-adhered seamless air and moisture barrier on an exterior wall. It ensures protection against moisture intrusion and unwanted air movement and offers a better way to meet today’s code requirements.

The new, improved StoGuard combines the benefits of Sto’s RapidGuard and RapidFill/RapidSeal, merging two products into one, streamlining this popular legacy product line and making for a simpler application process.

As building codes continue to become more complex, applicators need air moisture barrier systems such as StoGuard® that are quick and easy to install while still providing excellent performance and durability over the lifetime of the building. A water-based air and moisture barrier system, StoGuard is ideal for all types of construction, containing liquid membranes that can be applied either by roller or airless sprayer. This increases the speed of application on the wall while simplifying integration with other wall assembly components.

Common building wrap systems rely on lapping, taping, and cutting of materials to create a moisture barrier. Even when properly applied, these systems are prone to tearing and loss of adhesion, which can lead to costly callbacks or even long-term system failure. Since StoGuard systems are fully adhered to the substrate — creating a seamless, monolithic barrier — they are more effective, longer-lasting, and can be installed in a fraction of the time required to properly install a building wrap. All of these features make for a high-performance product that can save both time and money. For more information, download the StoGuard System Sales Sheet.


Sto Panel Used for Student Housing at Rowan University

StoPanel

This large-scale student housing project at Rowan University in N.J. relied on StoPanel to meet an aggressive construction schedule.

Rowan University in New Jersey needed housing to accommodate its rapidly expanding student body and partnered with the nearby town of Glassboro (just outside Philadelphia) to construct a six-story residential building.

The proposed structure, called The Penthouse, was a large L-shaped building with 500,000 square feet of floor space and approximately 200,000 SF of exterior wall. While designed mainly for student housing, there was also mixed-use space on the first floor. The project had to go up swiftly in order to house incoming students that same year, so the construction schedule was exceptionally aggressive.

The owner, developer and general contractor, Nexus Properties concluded that the only way they would come close to meeting the desired timeline for completion was by using prefab panels for the walls. Even with that, it was going to be tight.

Having worked with Jersey Panel for over 20 years, they enlisted their help. StoPanel was then brought onto the team. The offsite construction plans called for StoPanel Classic, a lightweight prefabricated panel that is both energy efficient and durable, with continuous insulation and the StoGuard air and moisture barrier forming the core of the system.  Sto’s versatile choice of finishes would then allow for almost any design aesthetic that was envisioned.

Nexus ultimately specified StoPanel Brick ci, a lightweight, energy-efficient prefabricated exterior wall panel, incorporating EPS insulation and StoGuard. It weighed a fraction of conventional thick brick and gave the Rowan buildings an updated traditional look. The final touch was Stolit® Lotusan,®  a ready-mixed, hydrophobic exterior textured finish designed to resist dirt pick-up and keep the walls clean and attractive. To achieve a very detailed exterior look, three contrasting finish materials were used – brick, cast stone and texture

Essentially the entire outside wall structure was completed in-house, then brought to the jobsite by truck, lifted into place with a crane, then bolted to the structural framing.  “The beauty of prefab is that the exterior goes up quickly,” said Art Baruffi Jr, VP Project Management for Jersey Panel, “And the interior can get started at almost the same time.” The average installation, he reports, was 10 panels a day, with each building requiring an average of about 65 panels.  “We didn’t need carpenters, plasterers and other related trades in the field since the walls were ready to go up when they arrived, and we worked with a crew of just five or six people to install them.”

The owners were so pleased with the new building, including the quality panels and the waterproofing details, they engaged the same StoPanel Technology team and their affiliate, Jersey Panel Corp. for the next six buildings they constructed. Between 2014 and 2018, seven buildings comprising more than 450,000 square feet and 1,500 wall panels were constructed in three phases.

Everyone involved in the process understood that panelization as a construction methodology offered distinct advantages: The buildings could be enclosed before it got cold, and the interior could then be finished. Working on the final six buildings almost simultaneously, they were able to make the panels ahead of time and the installation got faster and easier with each structure. In this case, speed meant cost savings and added value.

Sto panels were the right choice for these projects and served the needs of the university and ultimately the city, by creating aesthetically-pleasing buildings with high energy efficiency and superior performance characteristics. The new buildings are a showcase on the campus that Rowan can now use to help attract more students.


StoPanel Partners with Cladding Brand Leaders Dri-Design and Swisspearl

StoPanel Technology is now partnered with two façade industry leaders to offer state-of-the-art enhancements to its product line. Working with Dri-Design, Sto now offers a decorative metal panel system that will further elevate StoPanel’s design versatility. Sto has also teamed up with Swisspearl to offer high-caliber fiber cement panels — a unique non-composite, architectural wall system with a distinctive look and a pressure-equalized rain-screen system.

The inaugural project for StoPanel Dri-Design was the aLoft / Element Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas.

With Dri-Design, Sto can now offer a line of unique architectural panels that are available in a variety of metals including anodized copper, aluminum and zinc. They are connected using true dry joints, and the absence of sealants or gaskets means zero legacy maintenance for the building owner. They are beautiful, economical, sustainable, and fully test

The availability of a Dri-Design prefabricated panel option will provide owners and design professionals with a wide range of aesthetic metal panel shapes and color options along with the benefits provided when using a cladding that offers a rainscreen technology.

Swisspearl, the inventor of fiber cement panels, has joined with Sto to offer a continuous insulation system that uniquely combines the convenience and cost-effectiveness of offsite panel manufacturing with the look and feel of an innovative, contemporary aesthetic. The inclusion of Swisspearl in the StoPanel line-up of prefabricated panel options provides owners and design professionals with a wide range of attractive fiber cement panel and color options that also include a rainscreen design.

Swisspearl provided the handsome facade for the Corona del Mar Middle School in Newport Beach, California.

For years, capitalizing on the spirit of invention and its expertise in the building envelope Swisspearl has been developing innovative and sustainable products made of natural materials –fully focused on aesthetics, quality and responsibility to people and the environment.

Both of these new Sto panel systems offer owners and architects the design flexibility they are looking for while deploying a time-saving, offsite construction method to enclose their buildings.  These panel systems are high-quality and economical; they install faster and are the next chapter in creating innovative envelopes for tomorrow’s buildings today.

You can learn more about the StoPanel Dri-Design partnership here and more about the StoPanel Swisspearl partnership here.


Noted Artist Creates Mural for Sto Corp at AIA Expo

Spear's 2017 mural featured a cheese block, two mice and a cat, and was entitled "Who Is More Foolish, The Fool or the Fool Who Follows".

The 2018 AIA Conference & Exposition on Architecture kicks off at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York tomorrow (June 21-22) and one of the highlights will be a work of art in-progress at the Sto Corp booth — #1768.

Sto AIA Mural

Work In Progress: Andrew Spear fills in the details of his 2018 mural for Sto at the AIA Expo in NYC.

Andrew Spear, @spearlife, a NYC-based, “live mural artist”, will be creating a mural on the walls of the Sto Corp booth during the show. This socially provocative scene designer is back by popular demand after creating a comparable mural at the 2017 AIA show.

Using the versatile Sto Acryl coatings – and no other medium – he will be transforming the walls of the Sto booth into a work of art entitled “Funky 4 + 1”. Spear, who describes himself as a community activist, cultural instigator and music enthusiast, is consistently testing the boundaries of his artistic imagination. And the AIA project is yet another demonstration of how Sto’s state-of-the-art building materials can also test boundaries and enable creativity.

If you’re at the show, swing by. Don’t miss the master muralist at work, and register for a free print of Andrew’s work.

The Finished Piece: Spear’s hommage to fellow artists Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons and Jean-Michel Basquiat riding the NYC subway is called “Funky 4 +1. The mural “ingredient” is StoColor Acryl Plus.


New Business Model Suggested for Architecture Profession

A prominent architecture professor at Yale suggests that the profession could benefit from a new business model based on results versus selling time.

A recent article in Architectural Record penned by Phil Bernstein suggests that the architectural profession could benefit from a new business model. Bernstein, who is an Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer at the Yale School of Architecture, challenges the current methods of value creation and proposes a new business model for architects that shifts the value proposition of practice from selling time to creating results for clients.

According to AIA, architects are responsible for designing approximately $600 billion worth of buildings each year for which they are paid about $29 billion in fees, or 4.8% of construction value. Bernstein notes that these fees are largely paid as a commodity, and that real value is rarely reflected when compensation is a commodity; it hurts the overall economics of the profession. Fees are typically negotiated down, and architects are too often selling time versus measurable results.

If architectural compensation models were based on delivering outcomes of the building process, including the performance of the finished building, he believes these result-based fees, or outcome-based design practices, would redefine and benefit the architectural services business model. With digital tools and technology today, architects can truly impact building performance objectives such as energy usage, carbon emissions and maintenance-cost optimization.

Imagine a world with an outcome-based delivery system in which architects are helping clients realize goals to create offices that boost the effectiveness of workers, schools that educate students better, hospitals that promote faster healing. Bernstein is encouraged by the architectural students he sees today who are eschewing the more traditional architectural firms and are looking for more entrepreneurial, multi-faceted practices that include builders, researchers, and developers as well as architects. He is hoping this next generation of architects will be more responsive to innovative business models and demand new ways of practice.