Gowan, James (10 of 10) National Life  Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2012-06-20, 2012-09-18, 2012-12-05, 2013-10-22, 2013-11-12, 2013-12-04

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Gowan, James, 1923-2015  (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon,  Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 10: Track 10 December 2013. JG reflects on the influence of Le Corbusier on British architects: influences on Powell and Moya. Tom Ellis employing James Stirling and feeling like he had an ally – criteria for taking on staff at Lyons Israel and Ellis [LIE]. [00:04:21] Mentions working in an office with James Stirling at LIE – atmosphere in the practice. [00:06:55] Drawing equipment he was using at LIE – Tom Ellis was keen on publicity for their projects, [00:09:18] mentions that James Stirling did presentation drawings for magazines. [00:10:29] Importance of publicity for architectural practices. How LIE relied on personal contacts for new work. [00:12:38] JG on his own ambition (or lack of it) at this time. James Gowan’s first impression of James Stirling – Tom Ellis’ helping the latter with technical drawings. [00:15:43] JG on LIE as an architectural practice – considers the dynamic between the partners. [00:19:03] Explains how they organized the work in the practice – considers hierarchies in architectural practice at the time. [00:21:33] JG explains why he left Lyons Israel and Ellis to work on the project at Ham Common. JG describes the site at Ham Common – [00:26:34] explains the planning history of the site. [00:31:54] JG explains how he became involved – resolving the density – [00:36:40] attitude of the Council towards private residential development. [00:38:40] Talks briefly about his relationship with James Stirling – [00:41:29] explains why Stirling needed help with construction. Mentions Stirling was dyslexic – characteristics associated with dyslexia. [00:44:27] JG interest in the technical aspects of construction – Stirling’s technical ability. [0:44:07] JG explains they entered into an equal partnership – discusses why he joined the partnership – financial risks. [00:50:03] Discusses his wife Peggy’s support – she found their house in West London which became his office.

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