The Architecture of James Stirling and His Partners James Gowan and Michael Wilford : A Study of Architectural Creativity in the Twentieth Century book cover
1st Edition

The Architecture of James Stirling and His Partners James Gowan and Michael Wilford
A Study of Architectural Creativity in the Twentieth Century

ISBN 9781138252295
Published December 1, 2016 by Routledge
512 Pages

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Book Description

Sir James Stirling was arguably the greatest British architect of the twentieth century. This book provides the most comprehensive critical survey of Stirling's work to date, charting the development of his ideas from his formative years, through his partnership with James Gowan, on to his period in practice as sole partner; and finally, his partnership with Michael Wilford. Using archival material, extensive interviews with his partners and others who worked for him, together with analytical examination of key buildings, this detailed critical examination explains his philosophy, working method and design strategy. In doing so, it sheds new light on the atelier structure of his office and who did what on his major buildings. Geoffrey Baker is the first to analyse in depth the articulation systems used in major projects undertaken by Stirling. He confirms that the Staatsgalerie complex at Stuttgart does not demonstrate Stirling's interest in post modernism but rather an enhanced sensitivity towards context informed by his growing allegiance to the classical canon. Baker explains how this important development in his work, powerfully influenced by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, is consummated in perhaps the finest of Stirling's uncompleted works, the extension to London's National Gallery. In a discussion of his mature works, Baker explains how Stirling's work can be understood in terms of several interconnected ideas. These include surrealism, historicism, myth and metaphor, inconsistency and ambiguity, bi-lateral symmetry, the garden, rusticity and arcadia, and the archetype, seen as the repository of the collective architectural memory. As well as discussing his interests and those who influenced Stirling, the book compares his oeuvre with that of the pioneers of modern architecture, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier. This book charts a remarkable career, and offers invaluable insights not only into the masterly, timeless architecture, but also into the man himself: charismatic, irreverent, courageous, serious; sometimes rude, often stubborn, belligerent, yet gentle. He was endlessly inventive and deeply dedicated to his art, producing buildings that reflect all of the above, buildings that are magnificent and ultimately humane.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Prologue and introduction; Part I Education: James Stirling's formative years; Stirling's assessment of modernity. Part II James Stirling and James Gowan: Laying the foundations for a fresh approach to design: research and development in architectural practice; Variations on the square as an archetype; A heroic architecture of planes and light: early modernism's functional paradigm reinvented. Part III James Stirling: Cambridge analysis; Florey analysis; The 60s: a new architectural language; An architecture of context and association. Part IV James Stirling and Michael Wilford: From greenfield to the city. Part V An Overview of Stirling's Approach to Design: Function, form and meaning; Stuttgart analysis; James Stirling and classical architecture; James Stirling: interests and influences; Circular forms in Stirling's late work; Interview with Michael Wilford, October 1998; Braun AG analysis; Conclusion - James Stirling: last of the masters; Index.

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Geoffrey Baker is Professor Emeritus, School of Architecture, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA.


'Baker's book is well researched and illustrated with many photographs and plans, alongside photographs by Stirling which reveal some surprising sources of inspiration.' ARLIS UK & Ireland News-Sheet '...This nearly-500-page book by Baker (emer., Tulane Univ.) will be very valuable to architecture and design libraries... Summing Up: Recommended.' Choice 'The Architecture of James Stirling is a comprehensive study of a fascinating architect. Written by a fellow practitioner, the book offers great insight into the process of architectural creation ... the volume is well researched and superbly illustrated. The book will prove invaluable to architects especially and to all those with an interest in twentieth-century British architecture. As we have seen, James Stirling himself recognized the quality of Professor Baker’s architectural analysis and would surely have been delighted with this account of his eventful career'. Visual Culture in Britain