‘All the Wasms have become Isms’: Slideshow

As part of the invitation to contribute to the First Architectural Biennale in Venice, Paolo Portoghesi invited Jencks to outline his thesis on Post-Modernism that had been published in Jencks’ book Language of Post-Modern Architecture several years prior. Jencks did so in the slideshow that accompanied his installation in the Critics’ Corner, and counted some 80 slides with photographs of buildings from the period between 1950 and 1980. In the short accompanying text Jencks explained that Post-Modern architecture started in the 1950s with the breakup of C.I.A.M and continued in 1960s and 1970s as a reaction against modern architecture’s failure to build adequate urban environments or to communicate effectively with their inhabitants. As a result, Post-Modern architecture developed a language that was based on metaphor, historical imagery, and wit. One of its distinguishing features was ‘double-coding’, that is speaking on two levels and to two distinct audiences at once: to the architects and architectural critics, and to the public. This collection of slides, presented as part of Jencks’ contribution to the Critics’ Corner of 1980 Architectural Biennale, was loosely structured according to Jencks’ six stylistic streams or trends within Post-Modern architecture, illustrated near the slide projection on each side of the leaning critics’ pencil: historicism, straight revivalism, neovernacular, urbanist ad hoc, metaphor metaphysical and post-modern space. The captions to these slides are taken from the booklet that accompanied the slideshow.

Charles Jencks
‘All the Wasms have become Isms’: Slideshow
Post-Modernism, Venice Architectural Biennale 1980