James Stirling and Michael Wilford & Associates' postmodern design for the extension of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, a project also containing a theater and a music school, won a limited competition in 1977. The architects were aiming for a building that would be both a monumental civic structure and an informal one, reflecting the evolving role of the Western museum as a place of popular entertainment. "High tech" in some respects while traditional in others, the building was intended to relate simultaneously to its context—the city of Stuttgart, heavily rebuilt after World War II—and to the Staatsgalerie's original, neoclassical building, to which it would be attached.
The design combines a wide range of architectural references both general and particular: Romanesque windows (seen in this drawing), Egyptian entrances, Greek columns, and allusions to specific buildings such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel's Altes Museum in Berlin, Gunnar Asplund's Stockholm Library, and Raphael's Villa Madama, Rome. These eclectic juxtapositions of traditional elements, along with the more contemporary presence of components in colored metals, result in an inventive and vibrant modern building.
This drawing is an unusual perspective view of the main entrance, showing it from various vantage points at once—both from below and in elevation. The orange revolving doors and the blue canopy with its supporting green I-beam are viewed from beneath, while the wall with its Romanesque window, and the red beam to which the canopy is attached, are shown in elevation. Stirling made the drawing early in the project, and elements such as the informal and decorative metallic pink railings were relocated in the final design.
Publication excerpt from an essay by Bevin Cline, in Matilda McQuaid, ed., Envisioning Architecture: Drawings from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002, p. 198.