Fry, Edwin Maxwell

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Fry, Edwin Maxwell (1899–1987). Leading English Modernist architect. Encouraged by Wells Coates he gradually abandoned the Classicism he had absorbed at the Liverpool School under Reilly, and followed the example of Le Corbusier, becoming involved in MARS, the English branch of CIAM. He established his own practice in London in 1934, demonstrating his final acceptance of International Modernism with Sassoon House, Peckham (a block of working-class flats—1934), and two private dwellings that made his name—the Sun House, Frognal Lane, Hampstead (1936), and Miramonte, Kingston upon Thames (1937), where the influence of Mies van der Rohe's Tugendhat House, Brno, was evident. With Elizabeth Denby (1893–1965) and others, he designed Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, London (1936–7), a Modern Movement block of workers' flats, much publicized for its progressiveness by Fry's clients, The Gas Light and Coke Company. Fry helped Gropius when he arrived in England in 1934, and revised the German's designs for Impington Village College, Cambs. (1936–7), overseeing its construction. Fry was responsible for the MARS Group Exhibition (1937) which promoted CIAM ideas and publicized International Modernism. In 1942 he married Joyce Beverley ‘ Jane’ Drew with whom he wrote several books, including Tropical Architecture in the Dry and Humid Zones (1966). A Fry–Drew partnership was established in 1945, later joined by Lasdun: among its works were the Passfield Flats, Lewisham (1949), the Riverside Restaurant for the Festival of Britain South Bank Exhibition site (1951), and numerous projects in Ghana and Nigeria, including University College, Ibadan, Nigeria (1953–9). In 1951 Fry and Drew were appointed to the design team for the building of the new capital of the Punjab at Chandigarh, and were largely responsible for the appointment of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret-Gris as architects for some of the major buildings. In later years Fry designed the headquarters of Pilkington Brothers in St Helen's, Lancs. (1959–65), and a crematorium in Mid-Glamorgan, Wales (1966). He wrote Autobiographical Sketches (1975).

Bibliography

Brockman (1978);
Fry (1944, 1969, 1975);
Fry & and Drew (1947, 1956, 1964, 1976);
Hitchins (ed.) (1978);
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)