Post-War Modernism: Maxwell Fry's buildings at the University of Liverpool
Author: Jackson, Iain
Source: The Journal of Architecture, Volume 16, Number 5, 1 October 2011 , pp. 675-702(28)
Abstract:This paper considers the architecture and design process of Liverpool University's Veterinary School and Civil Engineering building, designed by the modernist pioneer architect, Edwin Maxwell Fry (1899-1987) in the period 1955-60. The architecture of Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War marked a departure from the modernism associated with the International Style, `white cubes' and `primitive functionalism', and there was a move amongst architects and reports in the architectural press that sought to review architecture through the agendas of `expressive', `formal' and even `vernacular' design. Both of Fry's buildings initially appear as subscribers to the functionalist doctrine, adopting a sombre, even aloof exterior, but a closer inspection reveals that they are not just the routine, clichéd modern buildings that became so prevalent and scorned throughout the 1950s. They demonstrate some of the wider concerns architects had at that time, namely: monumentality, the use of art and murals as a means of conveying meaning, and a concern for context within a functional-vernacular tradition. These notions were also astutely tracked through the architectural journals along with `formalism' (leading to Brutalism) and perhaps most significantly through Nikolaus Pevsner's determination to bind the English picturesque tradition with the lineage of Modernism.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2011-10-01