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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. University
  4. United Kingdom
  5. James Stirling
  6. 1971
  7. AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling

AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling

AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling
AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling

AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling +10

The Queen's College Florey building is the third and last building of  “The Red Trilogy” (the Leicester Engineering Faculty building and the Cambridge History Faculty building being the first two) designed by James Stirling, solidifying him as an irreplaceable facet in modern Architecture.

The Florey building was named after provost and 1945 Nobel Laureate Lord Howard Florey, who sat on the committee in charge of choosing an architect for the project. Although Stirling was not the most popular choice for lead architect on the project, Florey was an advocate of his, and Stirling was ultimately agreed upon because of the promise and potential held in his reputation at that time to deliver an iconic, modern building to boost the college’s reputation and enrollment.

All three of Stirling’s university buildings were designed in the decade between 1958 and 1968, but the Florey building did not begin construction until after the end of this time period and was not completed until 1971. 

AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling

This delayed completion was almost a year and a half later than promised due to logistical issues within Stirling’s office and delayed construction drawings from his office to the contractors on site.

The structure is primarily a concrete frame with exposed, A-frame “feet” at the ground level. As with his previous university buildings, terra cotta tiles make up the majority of the façade, while the inside of the somewhat ‘U’-shape made up of a glazing system that faces North and overlooks the River Cherwell.

The building contains 74 dormitories over four levels, with a top level of double-height gallery rooms for graduates and a ground level equipped with a dining hall and other general rooms.

In the classic book Modern Movements in Architecture, Charles Jencks writes of Stirling’s university buildings and praises him as ‘the best architect of his generation’. This, however, was never particularly the standpoint of the Florey building’s various clients or users. Stirling’s office was inevitably sued by the Queen’s College because of the many problems encountered both during construction and after completion. As a result, Stirling’s office was unable to find work in England for at least a decade after the Florey building, instead finding promise of work in places like Germany, Japan, and the Unites States.

  • Architects

  • Location

  • Architect

    James Stirling
  • References

    A Field Guide to Landmarks of Modern Architecture in Europe, BBC Oxford, MIMOA, Quality out of Control: Standards for Measuring Architecture, Wikipedia
  • Project Year

    1971
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Igor Fracalossi. "AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling" 02 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/155430/ad-classics-florey-building-james-stirling/>
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38 Comments

Nina · June 27, 2014

Does any one have the architectural plans ?
Doing a project/study on this building and it would be very helpful.
Please if you can?

mojgan y · November 11, 2012

how can i find the plans and sections of this project?

mojgan y · November 11, 2012

how can i find the plans and sections of this project???

mojgan y · November 11, 2012

would you plz give me the plans,sections?

mansour heydari · June 21, 2012

i liked your project

Stephen · October 05, 2011

The Florey Building was an unmitigated disaster to live in. The arrangement of rooms meant that visual privacy was only achievable by drawing down blinds, and the aluminium strips connecting windows to walls conducted sound so that one could easily hear conversations in the next room. I never had to invite friends elsewhere in the building for a coffee - just using my coffee grinder was sufficient as it could be heard almost anywhere.

As a piece of sculpture, it can be argued about pro and con, but as a student residence it was utterly unfit for the purpose and anyone who praises is it thus has automatically removed themselves from consideration as a serious or informed architectural critic.

mojgan y · November 11, 2012 03:30 PM

how can i fine the plams of this project???

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SALT · September 03, 2011

Go Dodgers

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AD Classics: Florey Building