Thursday, 29 October 2015

Reading the Campus, Reading the City - Learning Resource

This blog is for lectures in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds w/b 01/11/2015.

This blog includes:
  • An overview of what to expect on the lecture/walk
  • Information on the architectural moments at the University of Leeds
  • A pre-lecture quiz
  • Links to other resources
  • A link to the slideshow from the lecture
  • Answer to the prize question (see below)


The prize for the question on the walk has now been won. The answer is that the image below is a Fire Point and states how far the wall is to the water hydrant in the street:



You might find the following summary of architectural styles at the University of Leeds interesting. Please note, the time-frames shown in the images below the text are very rough, because: cultural epochs bleed into each other, they are different depending on what field of theory you are discussing, there are (often) many socio-political impacts on design styles (e.g. war) and all 'moments' need to be individually contextualised in their given setting:

This extract is from 'The Unseen University: A Schizocartography of the Redbrick University Campus' by Tina Richardson (2014):

"At the point the Yorkshire College became part of the Victoria University it was comprised of the Clothworkers’ Buildings, the Baines Wing, an engineering building and some administrative offices, which were set apart from each other (Shimmin 1954: 18). In 1894 the Great Hall and the Library were completed in the space between these sets of buildings, but Shimmin states that “No attention seems to have been given to planning; block after block rose in response to the pressure of successive needs and the architecture naturally lacked coherence” (ibid.). The university inherited these red brick buildings, although some of the college’s original buildings were located in the city centre, and no longer belong to the university. The university still continued to use the terracotta bricks on occasion, as can be seen in the Beaux-Arts style Brotherton Library, completed in 1936.

The campus site was redeveloped in the 1920s with Art Deco influenced buildings, often containing neo-classical elements like the Parkinson Building, and mostly made in Portland Stone (an interesting looking Jurassic stone which reveals fossils in its surface), although not exclusively. Portland Stone was often used in royal, religious and public buildings from the 11th the 20th century. As a material it makes a statement about public life and civic pride. Not only can this often be seen in buildings such as Buckingham Palace, but also in British Town Halls. While some of the previously planned buildings were not actually finished until after World War Two, it is clear from their style they emanate from the 1920s and 1930s, rather than their period of completion, sometimes the 1950s, as is the case with the Parkinson Building, the entrance to the Brotherton Library.

By the time the Brotherton Library was finished in 1936, the demand for book space had increased again and the new space was already fully utilised. Shimmin dedicates a whole chapter to the library: “An adequate library is not only the basis of all teaching and study; it is the essential condition of research, without which additions cannot be made to the sum of human knowledge” (1954: 117). The first library building for the university was opened in 1895. Today there exists alongside the Brotherton Library (a red brick building but with an entrance built later in Portland Stone), the Edward Boyle Library (from the 1960s concrete-based architectural period), the Health Sciences Library (located at the Worsley Building, 1960s built), the St James University Hospital Library (a very recent building near the hospital), the university archive which is located in the Baines Wing (red brick period) and the new library (under construction as of August 2013). It is clear from just introducing this one university function as an example (book provision), how university processes are actualised spatially – in this case architecturally – and how the aesthetics attached to these buildings is complex because of the differing architectural periods which have different ideologies attached to them.

Beresford states that it is the long-standing relationship that the university had with the city council that enabled the clearing of areas of terraces for both the campus buildings built in Portland Stone and the later concrete Brutalist buildings in the early 1960s, a significant period of development. The period of Portland Stone was associated with the Vice-Chancellor James Baillie in the time leading up to Work War Two. Portland Stone campus buildings include the Old Mining Building (opened in 1930) and the Chemistry Building (opened in 1934), located next to each other on the Woodhouse Lane side of the campus. Up until the 1960s, the campus development by CPB was the fourth of four main periods of development for the University of Leeds. Each period had different architects (both in-house and hired ones), with distinctly diverse architectural styles, both in design and often in the material used."

Here are the images that refer to the above text:


If you would like to test your campus knowledge pre-lecture, take a look at these campus phenomena:

What is this and where is it located?

Who is this sculpture by and where can you see it?

What road is this walking figure on? How long has it been there?

For more information on the University of Leeds campus and St George's Field you can click on my thesis here: The Unseen University.
You can also get access to Robert Frederick Fletcher's thesis in the library for further information on the cemetery:
Fletcher, Robert Frederick, ‘The History of the Leeds General Cemetery Company 1833-1965’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Leeds, 1975).

Walking Inside Out: A textbook on contemporary British psychogeography.
A map showing the blue plaques on campus.
Blogs by other psychogeographers: Alex Bridger, John Rogers and Gareth Rees.
A free downloadable psychogeography zine: STEPZ.
Tom Vague: Psychogeography Reports.
Mapping the Campus by Paul Mullins.
A TED-Ed lesson on psychogeography: What is psychogeography?

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