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Studio 3.1 – 2015/16


James Stirling: The Abstract & the Representational

In post-war British architecture, the search for contemporary authenticity led to a dominant ideology where the expression of the structural, tectonic and programmatic logic of a building was prioritised. The previously established technique of developing an architectural response to programme and context based on historic typology, and in dialogue with neighbouring architectural language was generally eschewed.

The work of James Stirling (1926–1992) is an exception. His projects make use of both the abstract principles of modernism, and the representational language of pre-modern architectural culture, often in the same building. His later work is often categorised as postmodern – a label Stirling resisted, as he believed postmodernism was obsessed with surface, whilst his primary interest was space and depth.

This year Studio 3.1 will investigate Stirling’s projects, influences and innovative drawing methods as the starting point for the design of an extension to a civic or institutional building. One of the sites will be the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. A choice of at least one other site is to be confirmed. We will visit the Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart and it’s 19th-century predecessor in Berlin, the Altes Museum.