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This striking PoMo pumping station is now a listed London landmark

‘Decoration is the origin and essence of architecture.’

A large brick edifice topped with white pediment with black trim, two large columns with brightly colored capitals, and horizontal stripes on the facade sits back from the street behind dark brick walls.
The Isle of Dogs Storm Water Pumping Station in the East End of London was designed by John Outram.
Photos by Historic England via The Spaces

Postmodern architecture—it’s not for everyone. But sometimes it strikes the right balance of whimsy, risk, and stateliness, like this stormwater pumping station in the East End of London, which was recently awarded a heritage listing.

Designed by architect John Outram and completed in 1988, the edifice-like structure—known as the Isle of Dogs Storm Water Pumping Station—is the first postmodern building to be designated under Historic England’s effort to “protect the country’s best examples of the divisive architectural style,” according to The Spaces.

Among Outram’s best-known buildings, the pumping station features a striated brick facade, thick, rounded columns with brightly colored and geometrically patterned capitals, and a corrugated pediment accented with a circular object resembling a jet engine.

While ornamentation in architecture was something of a crime to the modernists, for Outram (and other postmodernists) it was life:

Decoration is the origin and essence of architecture. I was told, in 1955, at the beginning of my life as an architect, that my medium was both to be illiterate and devoid of metaphysical capacity. My work has been a rebellion. I refused to live in a city designed by proudly sub-literate haptics whose ambition was to reduce it to mere “plant.” I aimed to invent that “meaning” and confirm those epiphanic techniques.

Another of England’s postmodern buildings recently won Grade-II* status: James Stirling’s No 1 Poultry building, completed in 1998, is England’s youngest listed building. For more, head on over here.

Via: The Spaces