8. Bronx County Hall of Justice

The Hall of Justice, a combination court and office building, was completed in 2008. Is it Postmodern?  The building’s architect, New York-based Rafael Viñoly, who has been dismissive of Postmodernism, might resist the label. To be sure the Hall of Justice does not feature a pastiche of colors or play too much with form. However, it does share Postmodern elements of visual flair and symbolism. The front facade has an accordion-shaped glass pattern, which performs no functional purpose but adds texture and depth. The use of glass throughout seems to symbolize transparency and letting in light.

The site also features a courtyard on the interior lot which provides a transition into the neighborhood to the north, showing a sensitivity to its surroundings that Modernist buildings often lack.

The Postmodern features of the Hall of Justice are particularly evident given the building’s context. Its sawtooth glass facade provides a counterpoint to the flat limestone streetwall of its Modernist neighbor, the Family and Criminal Court House (built in 1977) on the block to the west. This proximity creates one of those architectural juxtapositions that make cities fascinating places to observe contrasting building types at close quarters.