About this talk

Running time: 35 minutes

At the time of this talk Robert Stern practised architecture in New York, and taught at Columbia University. His ideas and work have been widely publicised in recent years, his Post-Modern style always the subject of heated debate in architectural circles. He is the author of several books: "New Directions In American Architecture" and "The Architect's Eye: American Architectural Drawings 1977/78", and has arranged a number of exhibitions.

In this talk Stern, provocateur par excellence, expounds and illustrates his approach. Post-Modern buildings, he says, are designed to mean something. Post-Modernism accepts diversity, prefers hybrids to pure forms, borrows from the past, layers space. He finds all these characteristics in his favourite building, Sir John Soane's Museum in London.

"I admire Soane extravagantly. He brought together in one building so many complex strands of what it means to be an artist or architect and a citizen of the world - the need to make a statement within a context. Rather than "less is more", Soane seems to be saying "more is not enough"... Architecture is about everything... That is what it must be, must move toward".

At the International Design Conference at Aspen in 1980, Stern's wide-ranging presentation acted as the necessary irritant, it left some people fuming, some indifferent, but no one uninvolved.

You can also listen to Stern discussing his career in Career Retrospective: Robert Stern, and you may be interested to hear Sir John Summerson discussing his involvement with the museum in Sir John Soane's Museum.

Robert Stern


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