Attenborough Building – Leicester
Architect: Arup Associates
Home to Leicester University’s Arts and Humanities departments, the Attenborough Building consists of three towers clustered around a central core connected to a low rise seminar block via a raised walkway. The most distinctive feature of this construction is the windows, which angle at the top leaving the bottom to protrude from the exterior surface of the building. Ostensibly to provide ventilation to the interior, this unusual feature certainly provides an interesting texture to the exterior. Like the Sheffield University Arts Tower the Attenborough tower is serviced by a paternoster lift, although on this visit I didn’t have a ride.
Charles Wilson Building – Leicester
Architect: Denys Lasdun
As you reach the top of Leicester University’s drive the Charles Wilson Building is the first thing that greets you. It’s a great feature building and a foretaste of some of the wonderful modernism to be found around the campus.
One of the many things to love about this structure is the fact that it looks like a happy robot. The bulk of the building is raised on thin stilts giving a shaded portico and allowing a fully glazed wall on the ground floor. The horizontal is emphasised on the main body with thick concrete banding, but this is broken up on the front by the continuation of the stilts and on the sides by service towers with vertical strips of windows. The ‘head’ features an interesting cluster of towers and a heavy looking external staircase. The concrete is a warm sandy colour, which blends well with the yellow bricks that are used sparingly on the ground floor.
Lee Circle Car Park – Leicester
To many the Lee Circle Car Park is an eyesore that should be demolished. The building has certainly seen better days, it was once considered a vision of the future, as you can see in this fantastic Pathé Film
Leicester University Engineering Building – Leicester
Architects: James Stirling & James Gowan
Unusually for a building featured on this site, the exterior of Stirling and Gowan’s construction is primarily covered in red brick and tile. While the materials may be traditional, the structure is anything but. There are plenty of interesting features – two lecture theatres project outwards from the main body, a staircase spirals up inside a glass tube, and at the rear ribbon windows angle outwards from the top in a way similar to those of the nearby Attenborough Tower. Rising above all this, the main tower is an expanse of steel and glass. The building, which is still well used, was grade II* listed in 1993.
Elizabeth House – Leicester
Architect: John Middleton
After leaving Leicester railway station you are immediately greeted by the sight of this handsome tower. The understated raw grey of Elizabeth House stands in sharp contrast to the gaudy blue of nearby St Georges Tower, which was quite a looker before it was clad.