M1: ICOMOS Competition 2023 1960 + Pleas for the preservation of postmodern buildings


Summer Semester 2023

Term: one Semester


ICOMOS 2023 Competition: 1960+ Pleas for the Preservation of Postmodernist Buildings.

Wildly curving curvatures, turquoise window frames, a pastiche of geometric shapes in primary colors, or references to architectural history that don't seem entirely serious - postmodern buildings often seem like foreign bodies that make their architectural contexts seem comparatively conventional. It often takes a second or third look to appreciate the qualities of the often seemingly odd buildings that have been labeled postmodern. What may sometimes seem like a fever dream of rebellious architects* is an imaginative escape from the constraints of a modernism perceived as dogmatic and a rethinking of the design conventions that architectural history teaches us. The seemingly free compositions of postmodern architecture carelessly disguise the profound qualities of the buildings and their urban contributions, as well as the complex theories underlying them and the critical stance of their creators.

If the architectural legacy of postmodernism - marked by unsightly signs of aging and juxtaposed with a rather restrained contemporary architecture - appears as an aging foreign body, this is also due to the fact that many of the buildings are located in the transitional field between the present and the past. Not yet fully considered historic, their aesthetics struggle to find widespread favor. At this dangerous turning point for many buildings, the threat of vacancy, over-forming, decay and demolition looms. For this reason, it can be crucial at this time to look at postmodern buildings with a detached, objectifying and interested eye, to emphasize their qualities and to bring them to the attention of the public in order to ensure their preservation.


The aim of the competition task is to examine the qualities and values of postmodernist monuments on the basis of self-selected buildings and to develop strategies for their (further) use, restoration or mediation.

  • What architectural, urban planning or conceptual qualities can be identified?
  • What meanings can be ascribed to the buildings?
  • What could mediation strategies for the buildings look like?
  • Which strategies of preservation, rehabilitation and further construction have to be developed for these buildings?


Wednesday, April 12, 1:30 p.m. in the seminar building, room SG301


External Links