Fry and Drew: Current Research

E. Maxwell Fry and Jane B. Drew: Modernism, Collaboration and the Tropics.

Iain Jackson and Jessica Holland are currently working on a Leverhulme-funded research project investigating Fry and Drew’s lengthy architectural careers and the wider cultural significance of their work, from the 1920s to the 1970s. The documentation of their work will highlight their significant collaborations with other architects and artists, including Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Denys Lasdun, Victor Pasmore, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Fry and Drew were pioneers in what is now known as ‘Tropical Architecture’, due to their post-war buildings throughout Africa, from The Gambia to Mauritius, and across Asia, from Iran to Singapore. The project focuses particularly on their extensive work in Ghana, Nigeria and India.

In the UK, Fry and Drew’s often overlooked later projects (1950-70) will also be investigated. While their contemporaries – such as the Smithsons, James Stirling and Denys Lasdun – embraced the changing interpretations of modernism, Fry in particular stuck to the restrained, polite forms that he had promoted in his late ‘thirties work. An examination of Fry and Drew’s increasingly divergent architectural aesthetic will conclude the study.

The project continues through 2013. The findings will be presented in the first monograph of Fry and Drew’s work, published by Ashgate in 2014.

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