A few weeks ago the RIBA doled out the 18th Stirling Prize to London-based architects Witherford Watson Mann. The decision was a good one. It was good for WWM and good for the profession – a youngish practice being recognized for a small but beautiful piece of work.
The scheme’s application of brickwork and joinery removes the work from the expediencies of modern construction technology and building products, which almost exclusively characterize the contemporary built environment. It genuinely feels like a project made at a different point in history, the result of the quite particular interests of three minds, Stephen Witherford, Chris Watson and William Mann. It is direct and personal. It reminds me of Stirling’s work..
And not just for its powerful draftsmanship, plan and restricted palette of materials, but for its intimacy. An intimacy that is apparent in much of Stirling’s oeuvre. I do not refer to the production of intimate spaces per se but the formulation of an architecture that is authored not by a factory but a few minds.
The latest Stirling prompted me to look back, and reconsider the work of Stirling himself.
The Queen’s College, Oxford is delighted to announce the launch of the Florey Design Competition. The College seeks a dedicated team to restore and add new facilities to James Stirling’s modernist masterpiece, The Florey building, which is Grade II listed.
Admired worldwide for its boldness and heroism, the Florey has been beset with infamous technical and practical failings since it opened forty years ago. Despite this, the building has remained largely popular with undergraduates for its sociable spaces and views of the river setting.
Teams must also address the wider site for the inclusion of new accommodation, social and modern facilities, as well as improving and refreshing the overall river setting. For further details please click here.
The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) is currently exhibiting the work of British architect James Frazer Stirling in their Main Galleries from May 15 – October 14, 2012. In addition to practicing, Stirling was a Yale School of Architecture professor as well as a Pritzker Prize laureate. The work showcased encompasses a variety of mediums employed by Stirling throughout his career. See samples of the exhibition after the break.
‘James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive’ provides a rare glimpse into the works of James Stirling, renowned British architect, Pritzker Prize laureate (1981), and Yale School of Architecture professor, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montréal and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven have co-organized this impressive exhibit on display at Stirling’s own Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart until January 15th.
Featuring the exhibition curator, Anthony Vidler Dean and Professor of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, the video highlights Stirling’s works: the Engineering Building of Leicester University (1959-63), History Faculty Library in Cambridge (1964-67), Florey Building for Queen’s College at Oxford University (1966-71), along with the 1970 competition entry for the New Civic Centre in Derby, Nordhein-Westfallen Museum (1975), and Wallraf-Richartz Museum (1975). The works ‘reveal Stirling’s wide ranging approach to architectural composition and language, as well as the fundamental importance of historical and modernist architecture to his work.’ On display are more than three hundred original architectural drawings, models and photographs.