More Than > A Building? Architecture on Trial: Stirling and Gowan's Leicester Engineering Building

1 - 30 April 2011

  • More Than > A Building? exhibition at the AF Project Space, April 2012
  • More Than > A Building? exhibition at the AF Project Space, April 2012
  • More Than > A Building? exhibition at the AF Project Space, April 2012
  • More Than > A Building? exhibition at the AF Project Space, April 2012

More Than – a video exhibition by Joseph Bedford and vPPR architects – critically reviews Stirling and Gowan's celebrated 1963 Leicester University Engineering Building through a multi-faceted portrait, composed of insights from a diverse and influential cast of architects, historians and critics, alongside the building’s own users.

In placing the Engineering Building on trial, through new documentary films and video interviews with James Gowan, Michael Wilford, Peter Eisenman, Charles Jencks and Leon Krier among many others, More Than stages an investigation of both the building and the very idea of architecture.

The exhibition asks why architecture is significant, how it functions and for whom - exploring the division between the building's role as both a 'work of architecture' and at the same time, 'merely a building.' It asks the question of who the Leicester Engineering Building is for, provoking difficult questions about the design of any building in a mediated world in which every design decision is caught between the address of multiple audiences; popular and elite, lay and literate, local and global. These difficult questions appear as relevant today as they did in 1963.

Through an immersive moving-image environment with documentary films and a field of video interviews, the exhibition literally stages the problem of architecture’s reception: at the centre of the exhibition is an event space for debate, in which a programmed series of lectures, screenings, and conversations will enable the public, architects, critics, historians and users to question on what terms the Engineering Building can be considered More Than a building?

The exhibition catalogue is available for purchase here.

Associated Exhibition Events Programme:

Admission to the events is free, but RSVP is essential due to limited capacity. Email: events[at] to secure attendance

Saturday 2 April, 3-5pm – Case #1: A Debate Between the Architects, Critics and Users
In Case #1, representatives of three audience positions (those of architects, critics and users) of the Leicester Engineering Building come together to debate the question of the role of the building as an object of design, an object of criticism and an object of use.

Thursday 14 April, 7pm – On Film: The Leicester Engineering Building
A series of short films will be screened including original 1965 BBC footage of the building and its architects as well as more recent films examining the Leicester Engineering Building today.

Thursday 21 April, 7pm – Case #2: A Debate Between Contemporary Architectural Practices
In Case #2, the second jury will be assembled to debate the case of the Leicester Engineering Building from the position of current architectural practice today, to re-open the case to debate a new the question of the role of the buildings as an objects of design, as objects of criticism and as objects of use.


Richard Rogers, Mark Darbon, Lennart Grut, Ivan Harbour and Michael Davies, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners 

The Thames Wharf Charitable Trust

J Robert Hillier