Faculty Lecture Series: Joseph Bedford
(College of Architecture and Urban Studies)
The Pauper and the Prince:
James Stirling, Modern Architecture and Question of Class
Stirling's postmodern turn has often been attributed to either the mounting crisis of Modernism in the atmosphere of faltering economics and his mourning over the death of the welfare state, or to the architect's break-up with James Gowan and thus his liberation from Gowan's more functionalist pieties. This lecture will argue, contrary to these views, that Stirling's postmodern turn was in large measure a function of his biography and, in particular, his encounter with the problem of class mobility in the face of the rigid hierarchies of British social life, such that is could be said that the double coding of his aesthetic language was a mediation of the double pull of high and low culture in the architect's own life as it played out within the constraints of British society.