10 Outrageous Buildings That Scream More Is More

Forget 'less Is more', these incredible Postmodernist buildings are daring, wild and out-there...

Phaidon‘s latest coffee table book delves into some of the world’s most creative and out-there postmodern buildings, and the photos are a visual feast.

Titled Postmodern Architecture: Less Is a Bore, it’s a spirited response to the famous saying that ‘less is more’, with Postmodern architecture in a rainbow of hues and forms from around the globe.

Written and curated by author Owen Hopkins, the book shows a curated collection of Postmodern architecture in all its glorious array of vivid non-conformity.

Fat and Grayson Perry: A House for Essex, Manningtree, Essex, England, UK, 2015. Picture credit: © Jack Hobhouse (pages 86-87)

The book features 200 illustrations, revealing the diversity of Postmodern architecture from around the world. It celebrates the movement that, despite being one of the 20th century’s most controversial styles, is experiencing newfound popularity today.

Postmodernist architecture emerged in the 1960s, and thrived from the 1980s through to the 1990s, and the recent rise of its popularity has seen the return of ornate designs and expressive forms throughout architecture and design.

Postmodern Architecture: Less is a Bore, Owen Hopkins, Phaidon; Terry Farrell and Partners, SIS Building, London, UK, 1994 (pages 124-125)

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Less is a Bore features photos of buildings ranging from the movement’s most famous, through to lesser known 21st-century structures and manifestations in Asia and America.

Robert A. M. Stern: Residence and Pool House, Llewelyn Park, New Jersey, USA, 1982. Picture credit: © Norman McGrath (page 28, top)

Here are ten striking examples of show-stopping Postmodernist structures that are still around today…


Created by Charles Moore in USA in 1962, Moore House screams ‘more is more’, with it’s contrasting colours, shapes and patterns. Charles Moore is an enigmatic figure in the history of postmodernism, and this example showcases his wonderfully exuberant yet carefully considered approach to architecture and interior decoration.

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Created by WAM Architecten, the creative Hotel Zaandam in Amsterdam features a mix and match of traditional Dutch facades, stuck together in a higgledy piggledy way.

Photograph by Peter Barnes 


Designed by Frank Gehry and Claes Oldenburg, the Chiat/Day Building in Los Angeles was built in 1991 and is Arguably one of the most eye-catching buildings is this smooth and rounded binocular-shaped exterior that presses up against a contrasting rugged and sharp facade.

Picture credit: © Elizabeth Daniels (pages 68-69)


Camille Walala is known for her graphic, almost Roy Lichtenstein style pop-art designs. Here she transformed the Industry City Mural, Brooklyn, New York.

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Over in Houston, Texas, John Outram’s 1996 design for Duncan Hall is decorative and ornamental. The book hails John Outram as one of the great, largely unsung heroes of postmodernism. Rarely did Outram find clients who were prepared to go all the way on this extraordinary architectural journey. Duncan Hall is the exception.

© Jeffrey Djayasaputra

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Never has a car garage looked as cool as Miami Florida’s Museum Garage, designed by Jurgen Mayer H, Workac, Clavel Arquitectos, Nicolas Buffe, and K/R.

Photo: Fernando Alda


The Ordnance Pavilion in The Lake District was one of the first built projects by the British practice Studio MUTT. Commissioned by Lakes Ignite in 2018 as part of a celebration of the Lake District as a cultural landscape, it explores the visual language of the iconic Ordnance Survey maps to create a hybrid structure which makes a direct connection to the long history of eye-catchers in the British landscape. It also emblematises a ‘do it yourself’ attitude that characterises many of the buildings in this book, being designed, built and installed by the architects themselves.

Photograph by Steven Barber

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Helmut Jahn’s cavernous State of Illinois Center in Chicago is another show-stopping example of postmodernism. Built in 1985, it’s currently sadly under threat.

© Rainer Viertlböck


Another striking building in Amsterdam, Mart van Schijndel’s design for Oudhof is a more sensitive and contextual example of postmodernism. Built in 1990, it proves that Postmodernism wasn’t always about brash forms and stylistic exaggeration.

© Gerhard Jaeger


And finally, another striking design in Amsterdam is the Piramides building, designed by Soeters van Eldonk Architecten in 2006. The design takes the stereotypical Dutch gables and stacks them in a perfect triangle.

© Syntrus Archmea

Postmodern Architecture: Less Is a Bore by Owen Hopkins is published by Phaidon, £29.95 (phaidon.com)

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