Examples of Postmodern Architecture

Postmodern architecture replaces structured modernist form and function with an eclectic mashup of borrowed styles. This page contains a collection of the most famous postmodern buildings organized by architect, as well as an image gallery and links. For more information on the history of postmodern architecture, see our related article Postmodern Architecture Explained.

Gehry - Walt Disney Concert Hall

Frank Gehry

MIT Stata Center - Dream-like structure that houses several technology departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Guggenheim, Bilbao - Sweeping design whose iconic status has eclipsed the modern original by Frank Lloyd Wright

Pritzker Pavilion: Millenium Park, Chicago - Chicago center for art, music, architecture and landscape design

Loyola Law School - One of Gehry's few works containing sharp geometric shapes, including simple unornamented columns

Chiat Day Building - Disruptive and iconic building for a disruptive and iconic advertising firm

Michael Graves - Portland Building

Michael Graves

Disney's Dolphin and Swan Hotels - Design by Michael Graves for the most postmodern of theme parks

Engineering Research Center - Building on the campus of University of Cincinnati that evokes an image of an an engine or machine

Humana Building - Louisville, Kentucky tower locally known as the "Milk Carton", each side is slightly different to match its surroundings

Michael C. Carlos Museum - Museum of art on the campus of Emory University

Post Office of Celebration, Florida - Post office in Disney World's backyard

Portland Public Service Building - Features a block-like design and a classic bronze statue of Portlandia

Ten Peachtree Place - Commercial tower in midtown Atlanta

Philip Johnson - Crystal Cathedral

Philip Johnson

Sony Building in NY - Previously owned by AT&T, this building gives a high tech tower an antique "Chippendale" top

Transco Tower - Inspired by Art deco, but built with steel and glass

Crystal Cathedral - Enormous California rendition of a classic cathedral in modern materials

Charles Moore - Piazza d'Italia

Charles Moore

Lurie Tower - University of Michigan tower designed by alumnus Charles Moore which houses a 60-bell grand carillon

Piazza d'Italia - Postmodern vision of classic architecture rendered in steel columns which was hailed as a masterpiece, but fell into disrepair as the first "postmodern ruin"

I.M. Pei - Louvre Pyramid

I.M. Pei

Louvre Pyramid - Iconic addition the Louvre that sits in stark contrast to its traditional surroundings

Johnson Museum of Art - Designed by I.M. Pei for Cornell University in Ithica, New York

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, Ohio home of the Rock and Roll museum featuring Pei's signature pyramids

Robert Venturi - Guild House

Robert Venturi

Seattle Art Museum - Constructed from a wide array of materials and features the dynamic outdoor sculpture: "The Hammering Man"

Guild House - Retirement home that ornaments mundane brick housing with elegant features

San Antonio Public Library


San Antonio Public Library - Quirky "Enchilada Red" building made up of geometric shapes

Luxor - Las Vegas Hotel and Casino modeled as a black glass pyramid

1000 De La Gauchetiere - Montreal skyscraper that borrows classic architectural features from other nearby buildings


MI6 Building in London MI6 Building in London

Sony Tower in New York Sony Tower / AT&T Building

MIT Strata Center MIT Strata Center

MIT Simmons Hall MIT Simmons Hall

Marriott Hotel San Francisco Marriott Hotel San Francisco

Gates Vascular Institute Gates Vascular Institute

Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotel Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotel

Frankfurter Messeturm Frankfurter Messeturm

1000 de La Gauchetière 1000 de La Gauchetière

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Tokyo Metropolitan Building

K2 Building Tokyo K2 Building Tokyo

Photos by City (@Flickr)

Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, London, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo

Other Links on Postmodern Architecture

Postmodern Architecture - Definition at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Postmodernity in architecture is said to be heralded by the return of "wit, ornament and reference" to architecture in response to the formalism of the International Style of modernism... architects rediscovered the expressive and symbolic value of architectural elements and forms that had evolved through centuries of building which had been abandoned by the modern style"

Crystal Cathedral - Official home of the Crystal Cathedral by architect Philip Johnson. Update 8/2013 - The Crystal Cathedral Ministries declared bankruptcy in 2010 and sold the building and campus to the Catholic Church for $57 million. The building was renamed "Christ Cathedral".

Lurie Tower - Official web site at University of Michigan: "The Robert and Ann Lurie Carillon was built in 1996 on the university’s North Campus... it contains 60 bells, with the lowest bell weighing 6 tons."

Modern and Postmodern Architecture - Overview at the New Georgia Encyclopedia, featuring Michael Graves: "a late 1960s to early 1970s "postmodern" reaction ensued, led by a younger generation of architects. They included, most notably, Michael Graves, whose works in Georgia include the 1984 renovation of Emory University's Lamar School of Law"

Should Portland Save a Building It Really, Really Hates? - Despite being a piece of postmodern history, the Portland Building by Michael Graves is unpopular with the locals and facing $95 million in renovation costs. It was also, in Graves own words, built with a budget that was "lower than a spec house would be built for in the suburbs" and is facing calls for its demolition.

3 Chicago Postmodern Architectural Icons - Article that features the three most recognizable postmodern landmarks in the city of Chicago: the Harold Washington Library, the James R. Thompson Center, and the Crain Communications Building.

Postmodern Architecture Photos - General collection of photographs (@Flickr)

Postmodern Architecture Models - 3D Models using Google's Sketchup tool

Top Books on Postmodern Architecture

The Story of Post-Modernism: Five Decades of the Ironic, Iconic and Critical in Architecture - Charles Jencks provides the defining account of Post-Modern architecture, from its earliest roots in the early 60s to the present day.

Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture - Venturi's "gentle manifesto for a nonstraightforward architecture", Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture expresses in the most compelling and original terms the postmodern rebellion against the purism of modernism.

Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form - Classic book by Robert Venturi's, calls for architects to be more receptive to the tastes and values of "common" people and less immodest in their erections of "heroic", self-aggrandizing monuments.

Irony; or, The Self-Critical Opacity of Postmodern Architecture - A look at five individual architects (Peter Eisenman, Arata Isozaki, Rem Koolhaas, Stanley Tigerman, and Robert Venturi) reveals the beginning of a phenomenology of irony in architecture.

Architecture After Modernism - An examination of the architectural world and its theories since the late 1960s in the context of social and political issues.

Architecture's Historical Turn: Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern - Traces the hidden history of architectural phenomenology, a movement that reflected a key turning point in the early phases of postmodernism and a legitimating source for those architects who first dared to confront history as an intellectual problem and not merely as a stylistic question.

Architecture on the Edge of Postmodernism - As a preeminent force in the discourse of the field, Stern was one of the first critics to use and analyze the term “postmodern” in architecture. This collection of essays—Stern’s first—brackets the years defined by the changes in architectural thinking introduced by Robert Venturi in 1966 and the exhibition Deconstructivist Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art in 1988.