Keywords Change this
Birth date / placeAugust 2nd 1899, Liscard, United Kingdom
Practice / Active in Change this
London, United Kingdom
Linked to Change thisWalter Gropius
Article last edited by roberts on
March 30th, 2011
Maxwell Fry Change this
born 1899, Liscard
About Change this
Edwin Maxwell (Max) Fry (August 2nd 1899 – September 3rd 1987) was an English Modernist architect, born in Liscard, near Wallasey in Cheshire. He trained at the Liverpool Institute and the University of Liverpool School of Architecture where he gained his Diploma in 1923. The next year he joined the town planning firm of Adams and Thompson in London. One of his earliest commissions was Margate railway station which opened in 1926. In 1933 he co-founded the Modern Architectural Research (MARS) Group, a modernist architectural think tank.
His best known buildings are Kensal House, in Ladbroke Grove, London, completed in 1937, where he worked with pioneering social reformer Elizabeth Denby to create a spacious estate with modern shared amenities and Impington Village College, in Impington, Cambridgeshire designed in collaboration with Walter Gropius.
From 1934 to 1936 he practised with Walter Gropius as Gropius & Fry. From 1937 to 1942 he worked as secretary, with Arthur Korn as chair, on the governing committee of the MARS group plan for the redevelopment of postwar London. During World War II he served with the Royal Engineers and worked in Nigeria, where he advised the authorities on town-planning and designed buildings for the University of Ibadan. Together with his second wife Jane Drew, he published books about tropical architecture. In the early 1950s Maxwell Fry recommended Le Corbusier to Indian city planners who then commissioned Le Corbusier to design the masterplan for Chandiragh, a new capital city for the Indian part of Punjab Fry and his wife accompanied le Corbusier together with Pierre Jeanneret as senior architects and together with his wife and Pierre Jeanneret and Jane Drew, as senior architects. Fry and Drew designed the New Schools building, the Waterloo Entrance and the Harbour Bar for the Festival of Britain. Both Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew often collaborated with and were close friends of Ove Arup, the founder of the engineering firm Arup.
As Fry, Drew and Partners (1946–1973) the pair's major commission was the headquarters of Pilkington Glass in St. Helens. The building includes a number of modernist art commissions with works by Victor Pasmore.
Maxwell Fry was also a painter, writer and a poet, and he and Jane had among their many friends contemporary artists such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Victor Pasmore and Eduardo Paolozzi; and the author Richard Hughes. He was an ARA, exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, had a one-man show in 1974 at the Drian Gallery in London, and continued painting in his retirement.