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Late Twentieth-Century Late Modern 1960—

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  011 Café outside Chifley Tower 039 Deutsche Bank 008 Capita Centre 
  The Marie Short House by Glenn Murcutt
  007a  Museum of Sydney 13 Short House 53 School of Information Technologies
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  041 Grosvenor Place 042 Centrepoint 007 Governor Phillip Tower and Governor Macquarie Tower 
 
  53 School of Information Technologies 70 Central Building 18 Altair Apartments
 
By the end of the 1970s it was clear that Post- Modern was a recognisable style which was not going to go away, however much its opponents attacked what they felt were its superficiality and obsession with historicism. It was even suggested that modern architecture (as represented by the International style) had died at 3.32 p.m. on 15 July 1972, when several buildings of the Pruitt-Igoe high-rise apartment complex in St Louis, Missouri, were blown up. Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, an impeccably credentialled modernist, Pruitt-Igoe had undoubtedly become an uninhabitable shambles, owing to socio-economic factors as much as to architectural style per Se. Be that as it may, with modernism now proclaimed dead and with post-modernism starting to gain ground, a style name was needed to identify a new breed of buildings which seemed to owe more to the deceased modern movement than to anything else. The label Late Modern was therefore created.
Late Twentieth-Century Late Modern buildings avoided most of the allusions, irony and self- mockery of post-modernism, although they sometimes paid homage to Inter-War Functionalism. They also modified the uncomplicated, predictable matchbox shapes of the International style by slicing, chamfering or serrating them, by stressing the 45-degree angle in plan and elevation, or by relinquishing the rectangular prism in favour of pyramidal, cylindrical or free-curved shapes. Late Modern architecture was nothing if not sleek and glossy. It strove to convey the image of the formidable technology of the computer and the satellite, a technology that was not yet practical for everyday use in the building industry even though it appeared overseas in such tours de force as the HongKong and Shanghai Bank and the Lloyds of London Building. A run-of-the-mill commercial building of the 1980s was likely to wear a tinted, mirror-glass façade which—like the sunglasses of the well-groomed, ambitious Late Modern people behind it—reflected the world outside and enigmatically hid what might have been no more than an inner emptiness.
An Australian strand of late modernism emerged. It could be seen in the carefully detailed, minimalist, metallic houses and domestic-scaled buildings of Glenn Murcutt and others. Precision, lightness and elegance characterised these buildings, with a refreshing absence of the rather empty slickness found in so many examples of the Late Modern commercial idiom.

Examples
Museum, Kempsey, NSW. Glenn Murcutt, architect, 1984. Light, steel-arched frames with barrel vaults of corrugated iron.
Rialto Towers, Collie Street, Melbourne, Vic. Gerard de Preu & Partners, with Penott Lyon Mathieson Pty Ltd, architects, 1985. Shimmering glass skyscrapers ensure a forceful corporate image.
   
  Quoted from:
"A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Austrlian Architecture; Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present"
RICHARD APPERLY, ROBERT IRVING, PETER REYNOLDS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SOLOMON MITCHELL.
Angus & Robertson Sydney 1995 ISBN 0207 18562 X
Copyright © 1989 by Richard Apperly, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds.

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