Starting this month Tate Britain is showcasing the work of the visionary (and controversial) architect James Frazer Stirling. The exhibition, entitled James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive is curated by the renowned architectural writer Anthony Vidler, whose accompanying book is published by Yale University Press.
James Frazer Stirling (1924-1992) is a controversial figure in British architecture, stimulating impassioned responses among both supporters and detractors. He earned international renown through such innovative and frequently divisive projects as the Leicester University Engineering building (1959-63); the History Faculty building at Cambridge University (1964-67); the Neue Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (1977-84); the Clore Gallery at Tate Britain (1984); and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University (1979-84). Stirling was also incredibly influential, training many of the current leaders in the field during his time as visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture.
Tate Britain’s retrospective exhibition James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive (5 April – 21 August 2011) draws on the Stirling archive held at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and covers the whole of Stirling’s career, from the iconic Engineering Building at Leicester University through to the late 1990s, including built and unbuilt projects, drawings, photographs and furniture. Tate Britain is an especially appropriate place to host a retrospective of James Frazer Stirling’s work, as it was Stirling himself who designed Tate Britain’s Clore Gallery (where the exhibition will be held).
Notes from the Archive is curated by historian and architectural writer Anthony Vidler, who has also written a book to accompany the exhibition (James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive). Fully illustrated with previously unpublished documents and new photography, Vidler’s book allows for a close examination of design drawings, photographs, and models spanning Stirling’s entire career. Filled with in-depth analytical and critical presentations of exemplary projects and their reception, the volume reveals Stirling to be a remarkably informed and consistent thinker and writer on architecture. The book makes an excellent accompaniment to the exhibition but is also a stand-alone testament to the towering achievements of one of Britain’s most influential architects.
James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive is available from Yale University Press.
The Work of James Frazer Stirling