James Stirling (1926-1992) was a British architect that has been controversial from his early career during the fifties until today. His Leicester Engineering Building was the most debated work of architecture in the early sixties, his extension of the Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart took that position in the late eighties. His work, labeled as “Brutalist”, “Late-Modern” and “Post-Modern” still provokes both lyrical admiration and powerful disgust.
He unveiled the dormant memory of the ailing modern movement, gave it a new set of design paradigms, and rehabilitated the art of composition. Later, he anticipated the growing interest for typological repertoire and urban morphology in architecture.
With his flamboyant personality, he was an eccentric, a kind of animal that is a allowed by British tolerance. “Big Jim” preferred to have fun in life and architecture, while scholarly critics like Kenneth Frampton, Reyner Banham,Colin Rowe, Peter Eisenman and Charles Jencks were scrutinizing his works and put it in the focus of the evolving whirliwind of architectural debate.
His oeuvre provoked several monographs, a biography and an enormous amount of comments in the professional press. Last year, interest in his work had been raised again, because of an exhibition of the Canadian Centre of Architecture (CCA) in Montreal accompanied by several publications (a.o. by Anthony Vidler) based on research of his archives that are being kept there. (The exhibition is to be seen in Tate Britain, London until 21 August 2011). The History Thesis Workshop therefore can depart from the “state of the art” research on this topic. It can bring us to the details and anomalities of his work, the emerging design principles or to the turmoil of the exploding “grand narratives” that took place during his lifetime.
Several themes will suggested to you in the beginning. Also lectures will guide you in the beginning to build a rich framework of reference. The thesis workshop will start in september 2011. Deadline (for validaton for next P 2) 20 november 2011.
Before the start of the workshop, The Architecture Students Association ARGUS offers a 5-day excursion , from sundaymorning the 23rd till thursdayevening the 27th of October 2011. Connecting the major Stirling flagposts, it will circle around London without entering it, and it will include fine new towns, garden cities, landscape gardens, Arts and Crafts houses and musea that are on our path. Roughly cost estimation E 300,-. This includes: planeticket, car rental and petrol, hostels (oxford and cambridge), breakfast and entrance fees. Only dinner is not included.
The program is roughly:
Day 1: Delft, Schiphol,London Heathrow, Stevenage New Town, Welwyn Garden City;
Day 2: Oxford, Florey Building, Leicester Engineering Building, Stowe Landscape Gardens (capability Brown);
Day 3. Haslemere Olivetti Training Centre, Guildford Grayfriars House (Voysey), Bexleyheath Red House (Phillip Webb, William Morris), Dulwich Art Gallery (John Soane);
Day 4: Cambridge, History Faculty, Norwich University of East Anglia (Dennis Lasdun), Sainsbury Wing of the Arts (Norman Foster)
Day 5: Cambridge, Heathrow, Schiphol, Delft (arr. 11 p.m.)
Participation of this trip is of course highly recommended by Hans, but not obligatory, if you want to join the thesis workshop. Also it is possibl e to work on a thesis on the “other excentricities” that we will pass.
Important is that you are prepared to attend the extra lectures and that you like to enjoy working in a group and share knowledge, insight and fun with your fellow students in presentations and debates.