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Twentieth Century Architects: Robert Maguire & Keith Murray
Publisher: RIBA Publishing
Date Published: Jan 2012
Stock Code: 75274
Total votes: 3
Robert Maguire was still a student at the Architectural Association in London in the early 1950s when he designed his first church. A committed Christian and enthusiast for contemporary design, he was a leading figure in the liturgical reform movement that sought to find an appropriate, modern setting for worship. His design for St Paul, Bow Common in London’s East End was the first such church to be built in Britain, and was followed by a remarkable series of churches and other religious buildings in England in the 1960s and ‘70s designed together with the silversmith and designer Keith Murray, with whom he went into partnership in the late 1950s.
The practice was famous for pursuing the intellectual and architectural toughness of the New Brutalism with the humanity and warmth of the Scandinavian tradition. They completely rethought the design of churches, and went on to reinvent the typology of both the school and of student accommodation. Bow Common school revolutionised open plan layouts, and Stag Hill Court student houses for the University of Surrey set new standards in communal living with its finely judged mix of privacy and community.
Gerald Adler places this small but highly influential studio within the changing context of post-war architectural practice, where the Brutalism of the 1950s gave way to the more technologically oriented architecture of the 1970s, and the so-called Romantic Pragmatism of the 1980s. The book is richly illustrated with drawings from the office archive, in addition to new photographs.
Stephen Dykes Bower (1902-1993) was unique among twentieth-century British architects as a sincere practitioner of Gothic design whose career was...
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Victor de Waal, Church Times - August 2012
Gerald Adler writes in the introduction to his fine and beautifully documented and illustrated book that their buildings, even those not designed for worship, “have a numinous quality, and schools, housing, and university buildings were imbued with an essence transcending the banalities of use”.
Both partners lived their faith through their work. Their sensitivity to the needs of worshipping communities in the design of their churches was echoed in the way in which they spent time consulting those, including children and students, who would inhabit their buildings. An exhibition of their work would be entitled “Building for People”.
Maguire and Murray resisted the allure of fame and fortune in pursuit of architectural truth, and were widely admired and emulated.
Laura Moffatt - Art and Christianity 70
We are fortunate indeed to have their [Maguire and Murray] work so well documented in this monograph.
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