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James Stirling

(1924—1992) architect


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(1926–92).

Scots architect. Educated at Liverpool, he was in partnership (1956–63) with James Gowan with whom he designed several influential buildings. Their flats at Ham Common (1955–8) featured exposed concrete beams with brick infill which were widely copied, though influenced by the work of Le Corbusier, and fell into the category of Brutalism (a label the firm detested). The Engineering Building, University of Leicester (1959–63—a collage of quotations influenced by Melnikov and Constructivism), with its angular chamfered forms and hard red brick contrasted with much glazing, attracted much attention. Thereafter Stirling, practising alone, designed the controversial History Faculty wing, University of Cambridge (1964–8), Student Residences, University of St Andrews (1964–8), the Florey Building, Queen's College, Oxford (1966–71), housing for Runcorn New Town (1967–76), and other projects.

In the 1970s he was joined in partnership in 1971 by Michael Wilford. The firm carried out work in Germany, including the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (from 1977, opened 1984), which paraphrases elements from the work of Ehrensvärd, Ancient Egyptian architecture, the primitive, and Schinkel's Museum in Berlin, but in an apparently whimsical way, owing something, perhaps, to techniques of collage discussed by Colin Rowe and others. Later works include the Wissenschaftszentrum, Tiergarten, Berlin (1979–87), Sackler Gallery, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1979–84), the Clore Gallery, Tate Gallery, London (1980–7), the Performing Arts Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (1983–8), the development at No. 1 Poultry, London (1985–97), and the Braun headquarters, Melsungen, Germany (1986–92). His later architecture became increasingly eclectic and expressive, containing allusions (some tongue-in-cheek) to historical themes.

Ar&Bi (1984);British Council (1991);Kalman (1994);Girouard (1998);Jencks (1973a);Maxwell (1972, 1998);Maxwell (ed.) (1998);Maxwell et al. (1994);C. Naylor (ed.) (1991), 475;Nurcombe (1985);Sudjic (1986);Wilford (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.


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