GEOFFREY H. BAKER’S LATEST BOOK (ARCHITECTURE)
The Architecture of James Stirling and His Partners James Gowan and Michael Wilford, 2011, Geoffrey H. Baker, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Farnham, Surrey and Ashgate Publishing Company, Burlington, Vermont
18 March 2012…..One of the most prestigious prizes in the world of architecture is The Stirling Prize. It honours a man, described on the jacket of this book as ”arguably the greatest British architect”, and Geoffrey Baker’s book honours him by providing “the most comprehensive critical survey of Stirling’s work to date”. This is a book for professionals by a professional which will also be of great benefit to students of architecture. Costs a bomb, as books of this kind do, probably destined for university libraries in the main.
Michael Wilford was one of James Stirling’s partners and, in an email to Geoffrey, said this about the book: “I have at last had time to finish reading your magnificent book. It is an amazing achievement and after all the time and effort you have expended on it you must be both pleased and relieved. It is a well presented and impressive volume!
What makes the book unique and stimulating is the rich mix of chapters ranging from the in-depth project analyses, design approach/methodology to informal reminiscences of people who worked with Jim. What I find particularly interesting are your conclusions regarding continuity of his architectural interests, influences and explorations throughout his career. These mirror those discerned by Tony Vidler in the Yale/CCA Exhibition and his catalogue – ‘Notes from the Archive’. Your reference to his mannerist tendencies also echo recent lectures and articles on his work by Robert Maxwell.
I have not yet read any reviews but hope the book is well received and a great success. It should be on every architectural student’s reading list – and that of many practising architect’s too! Maybe Ashgate can be persuaded to publish a second companion volume to include the remaining work you have done but which has not yet seen the light of day.”
Geoffrey is a longstanding saveHOVE supporter who lives in Hove (and New Orleans). ”genius locii” – spirit of place – is something he feels strongly about; and maybe a sense of the Frank Gehry scheme violating the genius locii of Hove inspired him to angrily produce drawings of how the Frank Gehry towers (2005-2007) would look from St. Aubyns. Both his professional view and the contrasting computer generated ‘view’ produced for the developer’s planning application were reproduced, side-by-side on the front page of The Argus. Compare and Contrast!
It was an early lesson for saveHOVE in devious-things-to-look-for in a planning application. The developer was beside himself with rage……