Pomo Promo

Disparate architectural bedfellows are gathered in the cause of making a fashion into a style


The Pomo publishing bandwagon is moving in where Brutalism has parked with Geraint Franklin and Elain Harwood’s book ‘Post-modern Buildings in Britain’ (£25, Batsford in conjunction with the Twentieth Century Society), a colourful but by no means definitive account. Most of the architects featured were uncomfortable to be defined as postmodern at the time, so whether they have mellowed or will come out fighting remains to be seen. 

Above: Richard Reid Architects, Finland Quay West, Southwark (1987-89): semi-detached typology at epic dimensions in London’s burgeoning docklands redevelopment (ph: James O Davies).

John Outram Associates
Sphinx Hill, Oxford (1994-99)

Far and away the most thoughtful and inventive among those British architects that came to be regarded as post-modernists, aside perhaps from James Stirling, Outram’s work transcends the crassness of such categorisations to stand as an architecture of both wit and integrity (ph: James O Davies, Historic England).

Charles Jencks with Terry Farrell Partnership
19 Lansdowne Walk, London (1979-85)

“An inimitable mixture of the didactic and recondite, suspended between private fantasy and public polemic.” Writer and proponent of post-modernism Charles Jencks, working with Terry Farrell, transformed Jencks’ west London house with anthropomorphic and quasi-classical motifs. Interior contributions were made by Michael Graves and Piers Gough, among others (ph: Chris Redgrave, Historic England).

John Melvin & Partners
384-400 Essex Road, London (1992)

Sheltered housing for the Mercers’ Company that draws on Lutyens to develop the typology of local north-London mansion blocks (ph: Elain Harwood).

Halpern Partnership
Veritas House, London (1990)

Post-modern themes “locked into a cycle of consumerism and over-production” as the style was superficially adopted by mainstream corporate architectural practices (ph: Elain Harwood).


Ian Pollard
Warwick Road Homebase, London (1990)

Pomo nadir, drawing on Stirling at Stuttgart and Cecil B DeMille, thankfully short-lived as it was demolished in 2014 (ph: Nigel Corrie, Historic England).

Terry Farrell Partnership
Thames Water Authority, Reading (1982)

Completed soon after Farrell’s split with erstwhile partner Nicholas Grimshaw, the TWA operations centre combines axial planning with extruded forms (ph: Richard Bryant, Arcaid).

Terry Farrell Partnership
Henley Regatta Headquarters (1986)

Boathouse-meets-Palladianism in a comparatively restrained riverside building for a bastion of the English establishment (ph: Richard Bryant, Arcaid).

Aztec West, Bristol (1988)

A bold and largely successful attempt to inject character and a sense of place into the hitherto architectural no-go zone that was the out-of-town business park (ph: Jo Reid & John Peck).


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