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Transcript of Constructivism,Stirling,Zaha,Koolhass

  • 1. JAMES STIRLING Leader of the great transition from the Modern Movement to the architecture of the New an architecture that once more has recognized historical roots, once more has closeconnections with the buildings surrounding it, once more can be called a new tradition.

2. Sir James Frazer Stirling (1926-1992)

  • Born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Educated from Liverpool University
  • 1956-1992, architecturalpractice (with James Gowan and later with Michael Wilford)
  • Works mainly in England, US and Germany
  • His classroom projects mainly based on Classicism of Ecole des Beaux Arts
  • But he himself was concentrated on International style
  • Main two buildings-Leicester and Cambridge- in International Style
  • 1970s Buildings in US show contextualism
  • His German projects, including Staatsgalerie are postmodern
  • Pritzker Prize in 1981

3. Design Philosophies

  • Started with International style (1950s)-small scale houses and housing complexes all built with traditional bricks and traditional English forms of warehouses, factories, barns etc.
  • Modern-functional, austere (no ornamentation) and with volumes defined by clean spaces and lines
  • But these were very humane in scale and style
  • Communal vitality and integration in terms of space and circulation
  • Architecture is not a question of style or appearance, it is how you organize spaces and movement for a place and activity
  • He was one of the earliest architects to use technology and new materials in architecture, but he always believed that the humanistic approach has to be given more importance

4. In an article written in 1979 forContemporary Architects,Stirling said, "I believe that the shapes of a building should indicateperhaps displaythe usage and way of life of its occupants, and it is therefore likely to be rich and varied in appearance, and its expression is unlikely to be a building we did at Oxford some years ago, it was intended that you could recognize the historic elements of courtyard, entrance gate towers, cloisters; also a central object replacing the traditional fountain or statue of the college founder. In this way we hoped that students and public would not be disassociated from their cultural past. The particular way in which functional-symbolic elements are put together may be the "art" in the architecture." 5. ..."If the expression of functional-symbolic forms and familiar elements is foremost, the expression of structure will be secondary, and if structure shows, it is not in my opinion, the engineering which counts, but the way in which the building is put together that is important." "Stirling's concept of contemporary architecture is concerned with the humanization of the environment. Humanistic considerations dominate all technological, economic and aesthetic preconceived ideas and ideologies. Architecture has to re-establish its own criteria for evaluation; for Stirling this obviously means creating in harmony with common sense, tradition, the existing environment, and a concern for people." 6. Engineering Building, Leicester University(1959) 7. History Faculty Library, Cambridge University (1964) 8. Leicester and Cambridge

  • Leicester and Cambridge were thoroughly modern constructivist designs that depended on technical innovation, demonstrating form follows function principle.
  • Both were built of brick and red tiles in the tradition of Victorian architecture, but with massive amounts of greenhouse glazing used on chamfered surfaces as a kind of glass skin.
  • They were proof that new methods and materials were a vital aspect of progressive architecture.
  • Although the extrovert quality of these buildings was a surprise, they and their successors (which used pre cast concrete and even prefabricated plastic to demonstrate their self-reliance) helped change the course of British architecture from a flat blandness to one showing careful use of numerous materials within a rigorously functional design.

9. Contextualism

  • By the 1970s Stirling's work took another turn: his buildings began to show a greater interest in their context, in symmetry, and in historical allusion.
  • The two examples of Stirling's completed commissions in America appeared during this period.
  • The first, an extension of the School of Architecture at Rice University, was commissioned in 1979 and completed in 1981; the second, the Sackler Museum at Harvard University, was also commissioned in 1979 and completed in 1985.
  • The Rice building, "a lesson in restraint," was the ultimate in contextual architecture. Both the materials and the design forms were the same as the original buildings, but Stirling used and interpreted them in witty and off-beat ways (for example, a two story arch on the main facade included a round window near the top set decidedly off-center) to give life and light to this addition.
  • The Sackler Museum, on the other hand, was a free standing building, located on a small lot across from the Fogg Museum, with which it was intended to be connected by an enclosed catwalk over an entrance that some said recalls the ancient Lion Gate at Mycenae and others insisted was Superman's Fortress of Solitude. The exterior of the building was striped orange and grey brick, and the interior continued this color pattern.

10. Later works

  • The use of color was a characteristic of Stirling, who saw architecture as an expression of art, not merely of social planning and engineering
  • Stirling signature was mullioned glass, colored building materials (including green window frames, purple and turquoise moldings, and pink railings against yellow stucco and Portland stone), and simple geometric forms and apparently random fenestration punched and cut into the building.
  • During the 1970s, the architectural signature of Stirling began to change as the scale of his projects moved from small and not very profitable to very large, as Stirling's architecture became more overtly neoclassical, though it remained deeply imbued with his powerful revised modernism. This produced a wave of dramatically spare, large-scale urban projects.
  • Staatsgaleries powerful basic concept has a large number of architectural amusements and decorative allusions, which led many to mistakenly see it as an example of postmodernism

11. Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (1977) 12. Cornell University, NY 13. CONSTRUCTIVISM 14. Soviet Constructivism

  • Soviet constructivism is a modern art movement that began around 1913.
  • Constructivist architecture was a form of modern architecture
  • Constructivist art had attempted to apply a three-dimensional cubist vision to wholly abstract non-objective 'constructions' with a kinetic element.
  • Constructivism was founded by an artist/architect named Vladimir Tatlin and Pevsner brothers.
  • Flourished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s.
  • It combined advanced technology and engineering with Communist social purpose.
  • Fell out in 1932
  • Its effects have been marked on later developments in architecture.

15. Tatlin Tower

  • The first and most famous Constructivist architectural project was the 1919 proposal for the headquarters of the Comintern in St Petersburg by the Futurist Vladimir Tatlin, often called Tatlin's Tower. Though it remained unbuilt, the materials - glass and steel - and its futuristic ethos and political slant (the movements of its internal volumes were meant to symbolise revolution and the dialectic) set the tone for the projects of the 1920s.
  • Planned in 1920, the monument, was to be a tall tower in iron, glass and steel which would have dwarfed the Eiffel Tower in Paris (it was a third taller at 1,300 feet high). Inside the iron-and-steel structure of twin spirals, the design envisaged three building blocks, covered with glass windows, which would rotate at different speeds (the first one, a cube, once a year; the second one, a pyramid, once a month; the third one, a cylinder, once a day). High prices prevented Tatlin from executing the plan, and no building such as this was erected in his day.


  • Other major constructivist works are Lenin Tribune by El Lissitzky(1920)-a moving speakers podium and Gustav Klutsis Dynamic city
  • After the World war, Soviet avant-garde school started an architectural wing called ASNOVA
  • A colder and more technological Constructivist style was introduced by the 1923/4 glass office project by the Vesnin brothers forLeningradskaya Pravda . In 1925 the OSA Group, also with ties to Vkhutemas, was founded by Alexander Vesnin and Moisei Ginzburg- the Organisation of Contemporary Architects. This group had much in common with Weimar Germanys Functionalism, such as the housing projects of Ernst May.[2] Housing, especially collective housing in specially designeddom kommunyto replace the collectivised 19th century housing that was the norm, was the main priority of this group.