Walking Melbourne

Deconstructivist

Deconstructivism is a style of architecture which became popular in the late 1980s and stands in opposition to the ordered rationality of Modernism. Its relationship with Postmodernism is also decidedly contrary. Though postmodernist and nascent deconstructivist architects published theories alongside each other in the journal Oppositions (published 1973–84), that journal's contents mark the beginning of a decisive break between the two movements. Deconstruction took a confrontational stance toward much of architecture and architectural history, wanting to disjoin and disassemble architecture. While postmodernism returned to embrace— often slyly or ironically—the historical references that modernism had shunned, deconstructivism rejects the postmodern acceptance of such references. It also rejects the idea of ornament as an after-thought or decoration. These principles have meant that deconstructivism aligns itself somewhat with the sensibilities of modernist anti-historicism.

In addition to Oppositions, another text that separated deconstructivism from the fray of modernism and postmodernism was the publication of Robert Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in architecture (1966). A defining point for both postmodernism and for deconstructivism, Complexity and Contradiction argues against the purity, clarity and simplicity of modernism. With its publication, functionalism and rationalism, the two main branches of modernism, were overturned as paradigms according to postmodernist and deconstructivist readings, with differing readings.

Complex geometrical forms and modern materials with a lack of ornament.

Melbourne has some of Australia's best examples of deconstructivist design. Examples include:

  • Federation Square
  • RMIT Green Building
  • Australian Centre for Contemporary Art


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