Terry Farrell between the gates: Part 2 - On postmodernism which refused to be deconstructed

Kolakowski, Marcin Mateusz (1999) Terry Farrell between the gates: Part 2 - On postmodernism which refused to be deconstructed. Architektura & Biznes, 83 (6). pp. 18-22. ISSN 1230-1817

Farrell: On postmodernism which refused to be deconstructed[A&B1999/6]
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“On postmodernism which refused to be deconstructed”
Since 1991, the work of Terry Farrell has been connected with Asia. His saying “I am not afraid of looking backwards, as well as forwards” was again put to trial. There he had to join his contextual principles of architecture with the futuristic ambition of Asiatic investors: although the British Consulate in Hong Kong was called “very British”, its facade echoes both Hong Kong’s architecture and that of European Coliseum. Two wings of this complex form a kind of gateway through which one can see the Consulate’s garden—the last part of British soil, today surrounded by communist China. In the project of the Singapore Radio Tower the inverted arch has references to a Chinese pagoda, though a similar, but much bigger, element in Peak Tower on the Hong Kong hills metaphorically responds to the landscape and recalls associations with the horizontal sky¬scraper of El Lisizki. Modernity and tradition are also features of the Kowloon Station in Hong Kong—the largest enterprise, which was completed in March this year—it is visionary, but not shocking; simple but not oversimplified.
“I was always interested in reacting to unexpected changes in art and culture and I liked to be stimulated by these,” said the architect who designed the National Aquarium in London Docklands and “The Deep”, the European Maritime Centre, which will be the 14th Millenium Project in Britain. Both of them bear some resemblance to deconstructivism, though they are much warmer and “human” than, for instance, Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin. If Farrell interprets deconstructivism, he does it in an almost ecological way by creating geological associations. In this rather unusual form for this architect, his principles stay the same: “defining a position on the earth, an address.” The idea was a cave melting inside an iceberg. It provides a hall-open space which focuses and organizes the other various functions of the structure.
Farrell resists the temptation to make forms unnecessarily complex, which is nowadays so easy to do using a computer as a tool. He said “I like simple buildings and symmetry. Our body is symmetrical, it is also natural that a building is so.” In the year 2000, The Integrated Trans¬portation Centre in Seoul will be one of the largest construction projects in the world and it will cater for 60 million passengers. Despite this, its form is legible and symmetrical. This is also true of the Samsung Headquarters in London and Northumberland Cross Cathedral, where instead of neurotic forms he provides symbolic layers of the building. It seems to be another unchanging feature of this architect, who once said: “Architecture always has symbolical context.”
The activity of Terry Farrell could be an example of how ideas that twenty years ago were opposing have become unified. “We are living in a fascinating time. So many different people are making so many different things. It’s what Postmodernism always wanted,” said Terry Farrell who co-operates today with a range of architects such as Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhass in Seoul for the Retail and Clinic Building. In this context, his proposal is aesthetic, plainer, more moderate and as always related to surroundings. His buildings define a gateway to this complex. The stepped form of the clinic responds to the displaced strata of the hill-side.
“Diversity” is much more than one of postmodern manners. The mixing and co-existence of different functions is a kind of prescription for healthy and living architecture. Farrell talks about it in one of his credos: “I like elements which are hybrid rather than «pure»; compromising rather than «clean», distorted rather than «straightforward», ambiguous rather than «articulated», perverse as well impersonal, boring as well as «interesting», inconsistent and equivocal rather than direct and clear.” This architect’s design is always accompanied by respect for the human, context, pluralism and diversity despite the changes of fashion. This is also visible in his urban projects like Castlegate in York’s mixed-use development, or in architectural-scale projects such as the International Centre For Life—his current project in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The latter, which will be completed this year, is reminiscent of a puzzle in terms of form, function and choice of materials. Despite this, it does not lose its unity. It is a proof that Terry Farrell feels best with complex projects. The fact that this project is already seen as the best of his creation provides further evidence that Postmodernism is much more than a fashion of the 1980s, and still has a lot to offer to contemporary architecture. “I don't like it when the word Postmodern is used in the wrong context, as a style in architecture. It caricatures what is going on and I don’t belong to that, but I like the idea that we are now in the Postmodern-time,” Terry Farrell said.

Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K200 Building
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K210 Building Technology
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:18024
Deposited On:29 Jul 2015 13:30

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