picturesque rationalism: an essay in palladian modernism

08/06/2011 § Leave a comment

james stirling and james gowan – cowes residence, isle of wight (1955 – 57)

we were aiming for something similar at the beginning, reacting against the older generation, setting up a critique of what might be done – a reaction against boredom, plainness and the mechanical nature of contemporary rationalism, of social rationalism and dainty well-produced things.

– james gowan in a 2006 interview [1]

 

labeled an essay in palladian modernism by colin rowe [2], the cowes residence, design principally by james gowan, exemplifies the efforts of young architects wanting to break away from the orthodox modernism of mies.  this residence on the isle of wight has the temperament of a teenager angstly searching for a sense of self – not quiet modern, not quiet after modern.  these transition stages in design are rife with potential, imagine if stirling had followed this course rather than going the way of number 1 poultry.

for more on the beauty of the cowes residence and the tragic additions its under gone since, check out russell light’s blog.

 

enjoy your development.

a young hare

 

 

[1] Crinson, M. (2007). Picturesque and Intransigent:  ‘Creative Tension’ and Collaboration in the Early House Projects of Stirling and Gowan.  Architectural History, 50, 267 – 295

[2] ibid

 

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