University of East Anglia – Norwich

University of East Anglia – Norwich
Construction: 1970
Architect: Denys Lasdun


Lasdun’s University of East Anglia is a true megastructure, designed to include student accommodation, a teaching block of offices, labs and lecture theatres, a library, and the students’ union building. The teaching block is a long, winding ribbon with a strong horizontal emphasis and appealing copper hued windows. The horizontal is broken up by Lasdun’s characteristic roof furniture – concrete housed vents and lift shafts jutting dramatically above the roofline. To the east of the site you can find the library and students’ union building, an arrangements of boxes that continue the horizontal thread. Running the length of this collection of buildings and facing south is the student accommodation, the famous ziggurats. Magnificent low rise stepped pyramids of concrete and glass. The height of the buildings fall, step by step, to the ground and where the buildings end an area of grassland continues the downward slope to a small lake in front of the River Yare. Raised walkways – one of my favourite architectural features – connect the back of the ziggurats with the rest of the complex. The campus is, in the true sense of the word, awesome. A miniature brutalist city sat next to a beautiful patch of green. The Sainsbury gallery to the west of the site is a bit intrusive, but the university has got to make the most of its estate I suppose. Plus it’s worth a wander round once you’ve finished looking at the architecture.
Privacy isn’t something you get much of living in the ziggurats, the park is open to the public and during my visit there were plenty of dog walkers and students – not to mention brutalist photo bloggers – gawping in through the floor to ceiling windows. The price you pay for living in this masterpiece I guess. Overall, a must visit for brutalist fans. If you can’t explore in person have a look at it on Google maps with the 3d option.


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