Tag Archives: Denys Lasdun

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 down 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’d 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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Charles Wilson Building – Leicester

Charles Wilson Building – Leicester
Construction: 1966
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.