Analysis Of Charles Jencks The Language Of Post Modern Architecture

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Charles Jencks in his book “The Language of Post-Modern Architecture “shows various similarities architecture shares with language, reflecting about the semiotic rules of architecture and wanting to communicate architecture to a broader public. The book differentiates post-modern architecture from architectural modernism in terms of cultural and architectural history by transferring the term post-modernism from the study of literature to architecture. Jencks briefly explains post-modern aesthetics from their modernist predecessors’ and pinpoints the instant of modernism’s death, writing “Happily, we can date the death of Modern Architecture to a precise moment in time… Modern Architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 15, 1972 at 3:32 p.m. (or thereabouts)...” (23). Unlike Jencks, literary scholars talk about the first, most original or famous representatives of modernism, but they completely avoid pinpointing an ultimate end to the movement. Due to architecture’s visual character and Jencks’ early, authoritative, and internationally read scholarship, the differences between modern and post-modern aesthetics are often clearer in architecture than in literature. Architecture provides a helpful visual counterpoint for modern and post-modern aesthetics in literature. According to him, architectural post-modernism favours pluralism, complexity, double coding, and historical contextualism. Jencks believes “the glass-and-steel box has become the single most used form in Modern Architecture and it signifies throughout the world ‘office building’” (27). Thus, modern architecture is univalent in terms of form, in other words it is designed around one out of a few basic values using a limited number of materials and right angles. In... ... middle of paper ... ...significances and codes and his recommendation of what style works in different situations and who should have designed it. It moves seamlessly from a quotidian understanding to a connoisseur, to a formalist and then to an appreciation, regardless if he likes the outcome or not. This appreciation of work, regardless of its complexity and the simplicity that deciphers meaning outside of the form, is what characterizes Jencks work. The book as a description of modern architecture, its styles and influence succeeds but falls short as a prescriptive methodology. His work is still recalled for the need by modernists to categorize everything into neat little boxes, not necessarily for the sake of uniformity, but for sake of some ambiguity. The ambiguity may be the triumph of this book as post modern architecture era is supposed to create more questions than the answers.

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