" When people see an Outram Building, their immediate response is to wave and cheer"
SUNDAY TIMES  20th January 1991

"Mr. Outram's ideas are practical, inexpensive and they work - at all levels"FINANCIAL TIMES  11th February 1985.

"Outram is, in a sense, the truest traditionalist".Rowan Moore, The Independent newspaper, 29 November 1989

"John Outram can be said to be a Modernist who has put decoration at the cutting edge of architecture"Alan Blanc, CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTS, St James. Press 1994.

" an Act of Architectural terrorism and "an impossible dream" Bob Maxwell, Emeritus professor of Architecture, Columbia University, .ARCHITECTURE TODAY November 1995.

"John Outram is perhaps the first Architect since Lutyens to embark seriously on enlarging the frontiers of Classicism": Lionel Esher in "The Glory of the English House", Barrie & Jenkins 1991.

" Britain's most eye-catching Architect" Cover Headline, Culture Section, SUNDAY TIMES  7th January 1996

"Outram has erected an astonishing Pantheon to literacy" Fulvio Irace ABITARE MAGAZINE. November 1996

Outram is, like the very different Miralles, uncategorisable. Hugh Pearman, Sunday Times , 12 July 1998.

"Its Architect is John Outram, whose style is unique, colourful and intelligent", Hugh Pearman, Sunday Times , April 15th 2001.

"The taboos of 20C Modernism can be broken exploded and discarded". Martin Pearce, University Builders, Wiley-Academy 2001

On The Judge Institute of Management Studies:

" The heart of Cambridge has a new colossus - brightly coloured, boldly detailed and provocatively soaring above every rooftop save the chapel at King's....This is Outram's biggest building yet and proves resoundingly that his love of colour and heroic scale can produce popular architecture.
THE TIMES  1st June 1995.

"Nobody since Frank Lloyd Wright has put so much effort into enhancing that humble and ancient material, concrete"
" is part of the cleverness of the man that his buildings are conceived as direct responses to the problems of today's can, indeed, get a lot of stuff into an Outram building."
.SUNDAY TIMES  7th January 1996

"The Judge Institute has the air of a building where a decade or more of ideas has suddenly been uncorked...It has extraordinary spirit and conviction, especially when compared to the polite-but-boring structures that a recent college building boom has unleashed."
.DAILY TELEGRAPH  26th September 1995

"When it looked at the plans for the building, the Commssion praised it as imaginative and exciting. In real life it is certainly both these things.THE ROYAL FINE ART COMMISSION  8th November 1995

"The new Cambridge Buildings are as diverse as The Judge Institute by John Outram Associates, St. John's College Library by Edward Cullinan, The Law Faculty library by Sir Norman Foster and Jesus College library by Evans and Shalev. Of these the Judge Institute is the most astonishing: despite its un-donnish colour and exuberence, it is a building of serious intention by one of our most thoughtful architects.COUNTRY LIFE  24th October 1996

"...the whole is a celebration of form interlocked with colour ...for the first time since 1919 the Judge Institute evokes an atmosphere of hope and real confidence in the future."
THE OLDIE magazine  June 1996

"The joker in the pack? A profound statement about the roots of architecture? Or a major new building which offers as much to the public realm as it does to its users? Arguably, John Outram's Judge Institute is all three. It is certainly the most striking recent addition to the restrained Cambridge architectural scene.PERSPECTIVES ON ARCHITECTURE Magazine,  Aug .95

"Outram introduces a series of ingenious and thoroughly practical new interpretations of space and building technology.......the Judge Institute is perhaps the most richly inventive and dazzlingly contemporary building you are ever likely to see. It is a building to visit and gasp in will undoubtably be a popular building. It also promises to be popular on a more philosophic plane, as it punctures modern movement doctrines that have never been wholeheartedly accepted by the public. Such achievements are not to be sniffed at."......BUILDING Magazine  8th December 95.

"The most liberating aspect of the Robot Order is that it virtually banishes the wandering architectural thrombosis called the service core, which, like the nonsensical idea that architecture is structure, has been one of the main props of modern architectural composition in this century. In place of a service core, the centre of the Judge Institute is filled with space, light & decoration, with the Robot Order columns surrounding the gallery like beads on a necklace.... The sheer terrorism of combining visual structure into a sixth order - the 'robot order' - makes this architecture a child of today. ARCHITECTURE TODAY Magazine November 1995.

" It stuns....Outram is supremely confident with the brick medium and in the Judge Institute he has explored and extended the vast palette of colour and texture it offers.BRICK BULLETIN  Winter 1996.

"Some of Outram's best work has been in creating new buildings out of old, and, presented with a rather plain three-storey building that looked as if it had a brick portacabin stuck on the top, Outram wrapped wrapped a polychromatic cornice around it. Inside the stairways network across the space, creating an effect like a Piranesi engraving.

It has been hailed as a wild success and even those in the conservation business concede that the building looks a great deal more iinteresting now. As Outram says: "I believe in modernising tradition". Sunday Telegraph 27 August 1995

"Futuristic and Historicist"

"In some ways spiritual heir to Stirling's idiosyncratic inventiveness, John Outram has reincarnated the stately acrobatics of his History Faculty Library in his Judge Institute of Management Studies (page 182), reinstating at a stroke the claims of the ugly and the beautiful against the nearby petit bourgeois Philistinism of Quinlan Terry. Easily dismissed as an an 'architecture of excess', Outram has erected an astonishing Pantheon to literacy - at once a temple to the idea of the Robot and a celebration of his fertile visual imagination. Masked by the 'decorated shed' of the ex-Addenbrookes Hospital, the Judge institute does full justice to all the commonplaces about people relating to each other 'at a human scale'. Outram's temple is a collection of places at once archaic and hypermodern, a dissolved suspension of technology and iconology which relegates Robert Venturi's decorative virtuosity to the status of software simulation.Fulvio Irace ABITARE MAGAZINE. November 1996



On The New House, Wadhurst Park, Sussex: 1

" Probably the best house built since the war. It is inspired by classical proportions yet is absolutely original " .....Gervase Jackson-Stops, Sunday Times, 20 August 1989

"The Entrance hall is almost impossible to photograph, but it is surely one of the most successful new rooms iin Britain. It is marvellously inventive in its use of Classicism and new materials; and equally, if not more, is the restraint. .Clive Aslet. Country Life . July 17th 1986

Aslet continues...

"The form of the room is oval, and in the floor at either end are what look like giant compass doials inlaid into the travertine. The pattern recalls the footprint of a Cporinthian column, and the number of stripes in each banded section counts the number of hours, days, weeks and months in the year, including the lunar ones. Above each of these discs is a ceiling window, the only source of daylight in the room apart from the doors.

There is a pharaoh's tomb quality about the darkness and the sense of enclosure, which is enhanced by the richly-coloured walls. They are made up of alternating bands of dark red stucco lustro (created by polishing stucco with a hot iron so that it takes on a shiny, marble-like surface), and burr elm veneer edged with aluminium. The doors are of avodire´wood covered with a trelliswork created from different grey-stained sycamore veneers. Each door contains 2,500 pieces. With its rounded columns to either side of the double doors, the room suggests both Empire and Oliver Hill at the same time".Clive Aslet. Country Life . July 17th 1986


The New House, Wadhurst Park, Sussex: 2

"The interior will ravish any but the most reductive Modernist. It feels open, light and airy and only the richness of the colours and materials prevents the magnificent views from dominating the attention and eclipsing the interior. Detail and construction are immaculate, and colours, from the pink and yellow plywood ceilings, to the pinks, greens and greys of the walls, and the other shades and patterns of cabinet work, flooring and tiles are all precisely judged to be rich, lively and harmonious.

Though such a strong architectural frame is necessary to stand up to the setting, and the views it offers inside, it might be expected to dominate any but the most monument and robustly pompous furniture. This has not proved true. It is furnished mainly in the light and elegant pieces - many by Josef Frank - that the clients previously owned. After skilful arrangement the effect is of a flattering symbiosis between house and furnishing. But then a house like this is the joint creation of architect and discerning and determined client. Part of the triumph here is that the result seems an exact reflection of the tastes and concerns of both parties."Peter Buchanan: The Architectural Review (June 1986)


On the Storm Water Pumping Station, Isle of Dogs, London: 1

The irony of Outram's position is that he is seen as esoteric and individual. Yet he is, in a sense, the truest traditionalist, reviving a fundamental quality of the architecture of the past nowadays utterly neglected in favour of style or other abstractioins. In an architectural world cursed by random prejudices, architecture as rooted as Outram's is very much the exception rather than the rule. Rowan Moore, The Independent newspaper, 29 November 1989

Storm Water Pumping Station, Isle of Dogs, London: 2

"A classical temple to sewage.

A boisterous and gaudy merry-go-ropund designed to excite the senses.

A robustly moulded compositiion of solidly crafted and durable building components.

An innovative yet richly worked creation of a romantic imagination.

A spiritual offering to the rediscovered primeval origins of architecture.

All this -and much more-in one tiny, lowly, water-pumping station in London's Docklands. The London Docklands Development corporation - purveyor of fast junk-architecture in the Isle of Dogs-can breathe a small sigh of satisfaction. The one building in the area that it has commissioned and developed for itself is an appetising and nutritous feast. Martin Spring, "Building Magazine" 15 July 1988


On the Computational Engineering Building (Duncan Hall), Rice University, Houston: 1

"In Duncan Hall, the architects have devised a new 'order' which they christened a 'working order', that combines the three Vitruvian functions with the single (trabeated) element of column and beam. The effect of this is to revise radically the idea of Functionalism as the predominant style of Modernity. Instead of functionality flowing from designing space so as to make it 'work better' it simply flows from a radically redisigned 'architectural order'. The room spaces are 'served' directly by the order and their level of functionality is defined mainly by what the order provides. This is because the working order is a circulation corridor, an electromechanical service duct and both frame and field to 'iconic enginering'. These three functions: of engineeriing the social, the physical and the conceptual environment correspond to the three Vitruvian functions of commodity, firmness and delight.

This design strategy liberates the room spaces from the restrictive straitjacket of specific and peculiar form sought by the architectural philosophy of Functionalism. This liberation of the room space is a licence for it to be either dull and neutral or wild and surprising. Whatever forms rooms take the 'service order' ensures that they will be provided with as much functionality as the budget can afford. The accessibility of the order, in its role as duct, also allows services to be added and changed, so increasing the functions available in any room.

The Architecture at Rice University is proof that the taboos of 20C Modernism can be broken exploded and discarded. The supposedly useless device of an architectural order can be redesigned to be, instead of a mere ornament, the essential provider of all the utilities. The supposedly impossible task of decoration - to promulgate ideas that are shared by all who live today - can be solved aesthetically by using the Supermarket graphics descended from normative 20C Art whether abstract or cubist in concept. The problem of their content can also be solved by employing current ideas in science and metaphysics. One would have no problem with redesigning the conceptual environment, should that radically change, in just the way one iinstalls a new service provider. This is why, while some people might regard the building's ceiling, designed by John Outram himself, as 'art', the architects prefer to call it 'iconic engineering'. Martin Pearce, "University Builders", Wiley-Academy, 2001.



" John Outram is an architect who defies classification within the labelling demanded by the modernist or post-modernist camp. His designs, built and unbuilt, since starting practice in 1973 have a freedom of expression which could be compared with the most non-conforming 19th century architects as portrayed by Goodhart-Rendell...John Outram's verve is also dedicated to exploring the potential of materials, both in terms of constructive skill and visual delight....
The architectural language attempts to bridge the "great divide" between the past and the present. A concern with colour, pattern and ornament has been recreated and made part of the delight experienced in architecture and not simply as an adjunct to firmness and structure.
John Outram can be said to be a modernist who has put decoration at the cutting edge of architecture. The Judge Institute in Cambridge is a major commission where the cumulative skills developed over the past 20 years have come to fruition."
Alan Blanc, CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTS, (a comprehensive anthology )  St James. Press 1994.

John Outram gave a brilliant performance in his lecture to architects in Prague at last weekend's big conference,also featuring Foster Hopkins, Farrell, Kaplicky, Jiricna and Chipperfield. Moving at breathtaking speed between technical, artistic, mythical and poetic explanations of his work, the former RAF Pilot revealed why Bladerunner is an important film for him: "It is about the iconography of Rome", he declared. He also told the audience that he liked to use galvanised steel occasioinally "to prove my modernist commitment". Report in Building Design 29th April 1994.

" According to the British Tourist Authority, 23.7 million tourists came to Britain in 1995, 13 per cent more than in the previous year. They also spent more money: £11.9 billion, a rise of 16.6 per cent in real terms.
While Britain's heitage tradition and countryside continued to exert appeal, new generations of tourists were more attracted to by the country's recent innovations in design, pop music and nightlife.
Promotional campaigns in 36 countries now gave high prominence to rock bands such as Blur and Oasis, "Britfash" designers such as Paul Smith and John Galliano, and style gurus such as Sir Terence Conran.
Architects Nicholas Grimshaw (creator of Waterloo's Eurostar Terminal) and John Outram (Cambridge's Judge Institute) are similarly praised." DAILY TELEGRAPH  27th September 1996


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