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James Stirling's Postmodern No 1 Poultry Building Reopens as WeWork Offices

11:00 - 23 October, 2018
James Stirling's Postmodern No 1 Poultry Building Reopens as WeWork Offices, Courtesy of WeWork
Courtesy of WeWork

No 1 Poultry, the iconic Grade II* listed landmark in London designed by James Stirling, has opened its doors as WeWork’s 28th London location. The Postmodern masterpiece now serves as a WeWork space for 2300 members, as well as shops, a roof garden, and a restaurant.

After being saved from a major renovation that would have eliminated its iconic Postmodern façade, No 1 Poultry building was carefully renovated by WeWork’s in-house team of designers, featuring bold colors, homely furnishing, and artwork inspired by the surrounding area.

Courtesy of WeWork Courtesy of WeWork Courtesy of WeWork Courtesy of WeWork + 10

Revealing the Mystery Behind the Architect: What Was James Stirling Really Like?

09:30 - 14 August, 2018
© Evan Chakroff
© Evan Chakroff

James Stirling (1926-1992) was a British architect who is considered by many as the premier architect of his generation and an innovator in postwar architecture. Some of his most famous projects include the Sackler Museum, No 1 Poultry, and the Neue Staatsgalerie. Through the influence of his teacher Colin Rowe, Stirling had a deep understanding of architectural history, yet never adopted a singular doctrine. His career began with designs that were more aligned with what would later be labeled as the deconstructivist style, but evolved into buildings that were a series of dynamic and often colorful arrangements. Stirling’s aesthetic tropes ultimately gave the final push that broke architecture free from the clutch of post-war European Modernism as he turned the Modernist canon of “form follows function” into a hyperbole by celebrating the expression of a building’s program with his over-the-top details. Stirling’s work is still largely influential, and the recursive wave of history has shown that the underlying implications of his oeuvre remains somewhere in all architectural practice of the present day.

Spotlight: James Stirling

06:00 - 22 April, 2018
Spotlight: James Stirling, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany (1977–1984), 1984. Alastair Hunter, photographer. Image Courtesy of Canadian Centre for Architecture
Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany (1977–1984), 1984. Alastair Hunter, photographer. Image Courtesy of Canadian Centre for Architecture

British architect and Pritzker Laureate Sir James Stirling (22 April 1926 – 25 June 1992) grew up in Liverpool, one of the two industrial powerhouses of the British North West, and began his career subverting the compositional and theoretical ideas behind the Modern Movement. Citing a wide-range of influences—from Colin Rowe, a forefather of Contextualism, to Le Corbusier, and from architects of the Italian Renaissance to the Russian Constructivist movement—Stirling forged a unique set of architectural beliefs that manifest themselves in his works. Indeed his architecture, commonly described as "nonconformist," consistently caused annoyance in conventional circles.

University of Cambridge History Faculty. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:History_Faculty_University_of_Cambridge.jpg'>Wikimedia user Solipsist</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Clore Gallery, Tate Britain, London. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Clore_Gallery_London_Dec07.JPG'>Wikimedia user Elekhh</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> The Florey Building at Queen's College, Oxford University. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/5107210108'>Flickr user seier</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leicester_University_Engineering_Building_2.jpg'>Wikimedia user NotFromUtrecht</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> + 13

The Revival of Postmodernism: Why Now?

09:45 - 3 March, 2018
Piazza D'Italia / Charles Moore. Image Courtesy of The Charles Moore Foundation
Piazza D'Italia / Charles Moore. Image Courtesy of The Charles Moore Foundation

The argument, made by architectural historian Charles Jencks in the introduction for the recently released book Postmodern Design Complete, that Postmodern styles never truly left the architectural profession is stronger than ever. The movement from the late 70s and 80s which began as a reaction against the utopian canon of modernism has recently been re-entering the architecture scene and defining our present moment of architectural culture.

This brings up an important question: What is the current movement of architecture? And what came directly after postmodernism? If anything, it was an immediate cry of “No more Po-Mo,” followed recently by a wave of “save Po-Mo” perhaps best demonstrated by the rallying to save Philip Johnson’s AT&T Tower from a Snøhetta makeover. Even Norman Foster claimed that although he was never a fan of the postmodern movement, he understood its importance in architectural history. Postmodernism is making its recursive return with Stirling-esque rule-breaking jokes and pictorial appearances.

Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?

08:00 - 25 February, 2018
Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?, Pritzker Prize 2017 Ceremony: Ryue Nishizawa, Tadao Ando, Kazuyo Sejima, Rafael Aranda, Glenn Murcutt, Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban. Image © The Hyatt Foundation / Pritzker Architecture Prize
Pritzker Prize 2017 Ceremony: Ryue Nishizawa, Tadao Ando, Kazuyo Sejima, Rafael Aranda, Glenn Murcutt, Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban. Image © The Hyatt Foundation / Pritzker Architecture Prize

The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).

The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.

WeWork to Become Primary Tenant of James Stirling's No 1 Poultry After Renovations

12:00 - 21 November, 2017
WeWork to Become Primary Tenant of James Stirling's No 1 Poultry After Renovations, © Flickr user merula. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
© Flickr user merula. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

After being saved from a major renovation that would have eliminated its iconic Postmodern facade, James Stirling’s No 1 Poultry building is now receiving a gentler retrofit that will upgrade its spaces to house 110,000-square-feet of contemporary office space.

Fitting right in with the update, coworking giant WeWork has now been announced as the building’s first tenant, and the company has revealed some details of how the building will work for its users.

© Flickr user merula. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Courtesy of WeWork. via The Spaces Courtesy of WeWork. via The Spaces © Flickr user Robert Moore. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 + 4

"Don't Blame Me!": 6 Projects That Were Disowned by High-Profile Architects

09:30 - 22 May, 2017
"Don't Blame Me!": 6 Projects That Were Disowned by High-Profile Architects, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/tseedmund/5351328288/'>Flickr user tseedmund</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
© Flickr user tseedmund licensed under CC BY 2.0

Construction is an exercise in frugality and compromise. To see their work realized, architects have to juggle the demands of developers, contractors, clients, engineers—sometimes even governments. The resulting concessions often leave designers with a bruised ego and a dissatisfying architectural result. While these architects always do their best to rectify any problems, some disputes get so heated that the architect feels they have no choice but to walk away from their own work. Here are 6 of the most notable examples:

Courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Studio Pali Fekete architects, AMPAS © Oskar Da Riz Fotografie © Danica O. Kus © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/18378655@N00/2894726149/'>Flickr user James Cridland</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en'>CC BY 2.0</a> + 7

Understanding British Postmodernism (Hint: It’s Not What You Thought)

04:00 - 29 March, 2017
Understanding British Postmodernism (Hint: It’s Not What You Thought), Staff Accommodation block at St Paul’s Girl’s School, by John Melvin (1985), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin
Staff Accommodation block at St Paul’s Girl’s School, by John Melvin (1985), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin

In this essay by the British architect and academic Dr. Timothy Brittain-Catlin, the very notion of British postmodernism—today often referred to as intimately tied to the work of James Stirling and the the thinking of Charles Jencks—is held to the light. Its true origins, he argues, are more historically rooted.

I grew up in a beautiful late Victorian terrace with ornamental brickwork, shaped ‘Dutch’ gables and pretty arts and crafts stained glass windows – and so I didn’t think then, and I don’t think now, that I had much to learn from Las Vegas. It turns out that I wasn’t the only one. Of British architects who made their names as postmodernists in the 1980s, not a single one would say now that they owed much to Robert Venturi, the American architect widely considered to be a grandfather of movement.

Mercers’ House, Essex Road, Highbury, London, by John Melvin (1992), photographed by Martin Charles. Doctors’ Surgery frontage to Mitchison Road. Image © John Melvin Mercers’ House, Essex Road, Highbury, London, by John Melvin (1992), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin Epping Forest Civic Offices, by Richard Reid (1984-90). Axonometric by Richard Reid. Image © Richard Reid & Associates Mercers’ House, Essex Road, Highbury, London, by John Melvin (1992), photographed by Martin Charles. Image © John Melvin + 6

Mies van der Rohe's Tower in London That Never Was

07:00 - 6 February, 2017
Mies van der Rohe's Tower in London That Never Was, Vizualisation. Image Courtesy Drawing Matter, REAL foundation. Image © John Donat
Vizualisation. Image Courtesy Drawing Matter, REAL foundation. Image © John Donat

In the 1960s James Stirling asked Ludwig Mies van der Rohe why he didn’t design utopian visions for new societies, like those of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City or Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse. Mies replied that he wasn’t interested in fantasies, but only in “making the existing city beautiful.” When Stirling recounted the conversation several decades later it was to the audience of a public enquiry convened in London – he was desperately trying to save Mies’ only UK design from being rejected in planning.

It couldn’t be done: the scheme went unbuilt; the drawings were buried in a private archive. Now, for the first time in more than thirty years, Mies’ Mansion House Square will be presented to the public in both a forthcoming exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)—Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square—and, if it is successful, a book currently being funded through Kickstarter by the REAL foundation.

Vizualisation. Image Courtesy Drawing Matter, REAL foundation. Image © John Donat Interior vizualisation. Image Courtesy Drawing Matter, REAL foundation. Image © John Donat Urban plan. Image Courtesy Drawing Matter, REAL foundation. Image © John Donat Vizualisation. Image Courtesy Drawing Matter, REAL foundation. Image © John Donat + 5

RIBA to Present Seminal Show on Mies van der Rohe's Unrealized "Mansion House Tower"

04:00 - 13 December, 2016
RIBA to Present Seminal Show on Mies van der Rohe's Unrealized "Mansion House Tower", Proposed Mies van der Rohe-designed tower block for the Mansion House Square scheme. Image © John Donat / RIBA Collections
Proposed Mies van der Rohe-designed tower block for the Mansion House Square scheme. Image © John Donat / RIBA Collections

Next year the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) will open a seminal new exhibition: Mies van der Rohe & James Stirling: Circling the Square. The show will examine two iconic schemes proposed for the same site in the City of London: Mies van der Rohe’s unrealised Mansion House Square project (developed by Lord Peter Palumbo) and its built successor, James Stirling Michael Wilford & Associates’ No.1 Poultry.

London Calling: British Modernism's Watershed Moment - The Churchill College Competition

01:00 - 30 June, 2014
London Calling: British Modernism's Watershed Moment - The Churchill College Competition, Courtesy of Churchill College
Courtesy of Churchill College

Fifty years ago Churchill College Cambridge opened its doors. In contrast to the historic Colleges, with their medieval Gothic and Neo-Classical buildings corralled behind high walls, this was in an almost rural setting on the outskirts of the city, modern in design, and Brutalist in detail.

The 1959 competition that brought the College into being is considered by many to be a watershed moment in British Post War architectural history. It brought together 20 names, young and old, all practicing in Britain, all working in the Modernist and more specifically the nascent Brutalist style. It was a “who’s who” of British architecture at the time, including the Smithsons, Hungarian-born Erno Goldfinger, Lasdun (then in partnership with Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew & Lindsay Drake, and formerly with Russian émigré Lubetkin), Lyons Israel Ellis and Robert Matthew (one half of the Royal Festival Hall team, who teamed up with Johnson Marshall). None of these made the shortlist of four.

Proposal: Stirling & Gowan. Image Courtesy of James Gowan and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, via e-architect Proposal: Richard Sheppard, Robson & Partners. Image Courtesy of Sheppard Robson, via e-architect Proposal: Chamberlin, Powell & Bon. Image Courtesy of Frank Woods, via e-architect The library from Stirling and Gowan’s entry to the Churchill College, Cambridge competition (1958). Image Courtesy of BD Online + 19

London Calling: The Man Behind the Stirling Prize

01:00 - 4 November, 2013
London Calling: The Man Behind the Stirling Prize, B. Braun Melsungen AG Headquarters and Industrial Complex, Melsungen, Germany, 1993. Giovanni Chiaramonte, photographer. Canadian Centre for Architecture. . Image © Giovanni Chiaramonte
B. Braun Melsungen AG Headquarters and Industrial Complex, Melsungen, Germany, 1993. Giovanni Chiaramonte, photographer. Canadian Centre for Architecture. . Image © Giovanni Chiaramonte

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.

Design Competition for James Stirling's Florey Building

01:00 - 5 September, 2013
Design Competition for James Stirling's Florey Building, View showing the raised glass facade wrapping the social courtyard / © James Brittain
View showing the raised glass facade wrapping the social courtyard / © James Brittain

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.

AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling

01:00 - 2 September, 2011
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.

AD Classics: Neue Staatsgalerie / James Stirling

00:00 - 3 April, 2011
AD Classics: Neue Staatsgalerie / James Stirling, © Flickr User: pov_steve
© Flickr User: pov_steve

© Flickr User: pov_steve © Flickr User: jesarqit © Flickr User: pov_steve © Flickr User: pov_steve + 14