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"Notes from the Archive: James Frazer Stirling," curated by Dean Anthony Vidler, opens at Canadian Centre for Architecture

May 16, 2012

Stirling and Gowan. Churchill College, University of Cambridge, England, axonometric view of courtyard pavilions. 1958

Stirling and Gowan. Churchill College, University of Cambridge, England, axonometric view of courtyard pavilions. 1958

The exhibiton Notes from the Archive: James Frazer Stirling, curated by Dean Anthony Vidler, will be on view from 16 May to 14 October 2012 at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.


"Architect James Frazer Stirling’s work has resisted characterisation because of its radical shifts in influence, named by others as prewar modernism to Neoclassicism, Rationalism and Brutalism to Postmodernism. But the continuity of his thinking emerges through the stupefying quantity and variety of material in the James Stirling/Michael Wilford Archive, a tool for understanding an architectural practice of unusual complexity.

... A part of this exhibition has travelled to Yale, the Tate in London, and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart since 2010. At home in Montreal, it is bigger and changed. Notes from the Archive is the most thorough examination to date of the practice of one of the 20th century’s most important architects, and on the possibilities of archival research."


Dean Vidler also delivered the talk Vernissage: Notes from the Archive for the opening event.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.