James Rowse (1887-1963) was an extraordinary architect who
shaped the city of Liverpool with his array of exquisite buildings, plans, and
infrastructure. Practicing in an eclectic manner that was
influenced by American Beaux Arts and later using simpler geometries of
monumental bare brick, his large body of work reveals a modernity that was
concerned with luxurious materials, restrained but contemporary decoration and
sculpture, and bold forms often with a sense of theatre and performance. His work has endured passing trends and
fashions, retaining a seductive appeal and resonance with visitors and
occupants alike, despite its often monumental massing and extraordinary scale.
book aims to discern not only the architectural merits and advances of his
work, but also their wider significance. Through Rowse's work we gain a glimpse
into some of the broader agendas of the time and place, not least through the
corporate and banking commissions that accompanied the large docks and shipping
firms in Liverpool, where Rowse produced some of his most distinctive work. In
addition to these commercial ventures Rowse contributed to the post-war housing
debates through his proposals that looked to rows of cottages set around
village greens, rather than high-rise living.
Published in association with The
Twentieth Century Society.