Tate Britain’s current exhibition on James Stirling has renewed debate about his work and life, including: the retelling of his sometimes outrageous behaviour by the Guardian’s Rowan Moore; recollections by friends and colleagues in Architecture Today; and a reappraisal by Hugh Pearman of Stirling’s social housing scheme in Southgate, Runcorn.
But whatever this man’s faults, he and his often forgotten partners (James Gowan and Michael Wilford) produced some beautiful axonometric drawings. Three rooms have been given to selected items from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, with the floor space of two rooms given over entirely to large models of Stirling’s completed and unbuilt works. All of this is brought together in the very building he designed, the Clore Gallery extension which was opened in 1987. James Stirling: Notes from the Archive is at Tate Britain until 21 August 2011 and admission is free.
RIBA Library collections
This exhibition is the result of much careful cataloguing by the CCA, who brought the James Stirling/Michael Wilford Archive a decade ago. Although the material will return to Canada after the exhibition closes, the RIBA Library holds a collection of books and journal articles on Stirling and some original drawings, photographs and documents relating to his designs for No.1 Poultry and the Stuttgart Staatsgalerie und Kammertheater. In the collections is a recording of a talk given by Stirling when he accepted the Royal Gold Medal in 1980; it exists only on cassette tape and will be a part of a new digitisation programme to preserve older analogue material in the RIBA’s Audiovisual Collection. Access to these resources is free.
RIBA Stirling Prize
Links to the RIBA extend to the high-profile award named after him. The Stirling Prize has kept Stirling in the minds of the public and associated his name with the best of Britain’s modern buildings. Interestingly like Zaha Hadid, the most recent winner of the prize, Stirling was involved in teaching and subsequently influenced many students during his lifetime. The current exhibition includes his papers and notes for his lectures.
Liverpool: Stirling and the North
Stirling had a fascination with Liverpool where he grew up and was educated. The exhibition includes a small display of black and white photographs he took of the warehouses and ships in the city’s docks, and it was through photography he captured ideas and future sources of inspiration. Comparisons have been made between the architecture and urban context of the city with Stirling’s later work and ideas (Architectural Review, April 2011, p.76-79). To celebrate these links, RIBA North West have organised a talk, ‘Stirling and the North’ on 25 June, in the only building he designed for the city, Tate Liverpool.