Mies van der Rohe & James Stirling: Circling the Square
Designed by Carmody Groarke Architects, the exhibition is co-curated by Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions and Vicky Wilson, Assistant Curator, RIBA.
From 8 March to 25 June 2017 at The Architecture Gallery, RIBA.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) unveils a major new exhibition offering a renewed examination of two iconic architectural schemes proposed for the same site in the City of London. Commissioned by architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo, Mies van der Rohe’s unrealised Mansion House Square project will be explored alongside its built successor, James Stirling Michael Wilford & Associates’ newly listed Number One Poultry.
Presented together for the first time, the exhibition offers a unique opportunity to draw comparisons between the design methods of two of the most highly recognised architects of the 20th century, and to trace the continuity in purpose and approach that unites two seemingly dissimilar architectural creations.
The design history of the two schemes spans three decades of the mid-20th century, a highly transitional period in the history of architecture where the movements and influences of pop art, high modernism and postmodernism co-existed and collided. Intended to replace an eclectic block of listed buildings, both schemes became subjects of passionate debate, and high-profile inquiries. This debate distracted attention from the architectural ideas and ambitions of both architects and patron.
As part of the exhibition the RIBA is organising a series of public events including; talks, curator tours, film screenings, courses, workshops and a ‘Late’ evening event. Highlights include a rare opportunity to see a film by Georgia van der Rohe about her father, Mies van der Rohe. The screening, on 20 March, will be introduced with a short talk by Dirk Lohan, Mies van der Rohe’s grandson, who will also participate in a panel discussion, Mies + Stirling: Contemporary Reflections, on 21 March.
Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions, said: “Through the display of rarely-seen working drawings and newly-restored presentation models, this exhibition returns the focus from the controversy back to the buildings themselves. With the distance of time, it encourages reflection on each project’s contribution to its own epoch, as well as their place in the continuum of architectural change and history in the City.”
The exhibition, designed by Carmody Groarke Architects, features models and materials, on loan to the RIBA by Lord Palumbo from his private collection, along with significant items from the No. 1 Poultry archive that provide an intimate insight into the workings of the Stirling office, from initial sketch ideas to his famous ‘worm-eye’ axonometric views.