Updating a Postmodern Pyramid

dmvA Architecten Pyramid House VVDB

dmvA Architecten Pyramid House VVDB

Increasingly, I am drawn to postmodern architecture in a way that used to worry me. Maybe it started because I watched too much Lynette Jennings as a child, or was perhaps perpetuated by my interest in both the Piazza d’Italia and Columbus Indiana as an architecture student. In 2008ish my latent affinity swung into a kinetic, but secret romance when Aaron Betsky casually mentioned in a lecture that it might be time for Architects to reexamine postmodernism. Yes! It’s the only time architects are allowed to have a sense of humor.

House VVDB was originally built in the ’80s by architect Jan Van Den Bergheas as his own abode. In 2009, Van Den Berghe approached dmvA Architecten and asked that they “refurbish” the postmodern pyramid for his daughter. The new architects cited the major goals of the project: “to create more transparency and spaciousness in the house.” The result, as you can see, is indeed both more transparent and spacious, but the renovation adds another layer of history to the house. Because I tend to associate postmodernism with historic pastiche, this new layer is a bit thicker and adds genuine complexity to the house. In a way this seems to make the house even more postmodern as it becomes more contemporary.

But I could misunderstand postermodernism.  It would not be the first time that Lynette Jennings lead me astray.


1 Comment Updating a Postmodern Pyramid

  1. David M June 15, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    I’d say the original (and the refurbished) is only glancingly PoMo, in that a pyramid is an iconic historical reference. But a pyramid is also a platonic solid, and thus a timeless, “ideal” form, a fact that frees it from the PoMo label. The only other thing that might make it PoMo is its references to vernacular country architecture. Not modernism, exactly, but utilitarian enough to come close.

    That “subtraction” house you posted earlier is actually more PoMo (but not in a silly way) in that its starting form is the “house” that a child might draw.

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