Sir James Frazer Stirling

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Stirling, Sir James Frazer (1926–92). Scots architect. Educated at Liverpool, he was in partnership (1956–63) with James Gowan with whom he designed several influential buildings. Their flats at Ham Common (1955–8) featured exposed concrete beams with brick infill which were widely copied, though influenced by the work of Le Corbusier, and fell into the category of Brutalism (a label the firm detested). The Engineering Building, University of Leicester (1959–63—a collage of quotations influenced by Melnikov and Constructivism), with its angular chamfered forms and hard red brick contrasted with much glazing, attracted much attention. Thereafter Stirling, practising alone, designed the controversial History Faculty wing, University of Cambridge (1964–8), Student Residences, University of St Andrews (1964–8), the Florey Building, Queen's College, Oxford (1966–71), housing for Runcorn New Town (1967–76), and other projects.

In the 1970s he was joined in partnership in 1971 by Michael Wilford. The firm carried out work in Germany, including the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (from 1977, opened 1984), which paraphrases elements from the work of Ehrensvärd, Ancient Egyptian architecture, the primitive, and Schinkel's Museum in Berlin, but in an apparently whimsical way, owing something, perhaps, to techniques of collage discussed by Colin Rowe and others. Later works include the Wissenschaftszentrum, Tiergarten, Berlin (1979–87), Sackler Gallery, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1979–84), the Clore Gallery, Tate Gallery, London (1980–7), the Performing Arts Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (1983–8), the development at No. 1 Poultry, London (1985–97), and the Braun headquarters, Melsungen, Germany (1986–92). His later architecture became increasingly eclectic and expressive, containing allusions (some tongue-in-cheek) to historical themes.


Ar&Bi (1984);
British Council (1991);
Kalman (1994);
Girouard (1998);
Jencks (1973a);
Maxwell (1972, 1998);
Maxwell (ed.) (1998);
Maxwell et al. (1994);
C. Naylor (ed.) (1991), 475;
Nurcombe (1985);
Sudjic (1986);
Wilford (1996)

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Frazer, Sir James (1854–1941). Anthropologist. Frazer was born in Glasgow, where he took his first degree, and was elected to a fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1879, which he held for the rest of his life. In 1888 he contributed articles on taboo and totemism to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which laid the foundation for his work on primitive religion. He followed them with The Golden Bough (1890), a pioneer work of comparative anthropology, which occupied him until the 1930s. The evolution of society was, Frazer suggested, from magic to religion and then to science. This led him to examine the role of god-kings, scapegoats and sacrifices, and fire festivals. Prodigiously dedicated and hard-working, he amassed a vast pile of evidence, much of it printed in Anthologia anthropologica (1938, 1939). He had no field experience and showed little interest in comment and criticisms of his work. His early presbyterian family religion gave way to a vague ‘trembling hope’ in some ‘world of light eternal’. Frazer was knighted in 1914 and given the OM in 1925.

J. A. Cannon