Visit to University of Sussex campus

Omg, so this was completely incidental. It would’ve been not incidental had I remembered more from second year architectural history lectures. Last Thursday I went to Sussex University campus to sign up at a dental practice, and the architecture there… struck me. I was honestly baffled wondering how anyone could build something so beautiful and functional. The vast green spaces between the buildings and the beauty of the shapes and sizes and configurations of forms are overwhelming. In the golden hour the campus was too pretty; it was that sort of space where you could just exist and take in the stuff around you and not think of anything else. This kind of focus and distraction at the same time that is the ultimate joy; not feeling anything, just kind of being content, and it could even be cold outside but the beauty would be so numbing that you wouldn’t feel it anyway.

Anyway, only afterwards did I look up who designed this campus and, as I suspected, it was Sir Basil Spence, in the 1960s. He allegedly said:

“The whole precinct should have the ‘sense of a university’ and should, if possible, grow out of the soil of Sussex to become a natural part of this beautiful site.”

University of Sussex, Preserving our architecture and heritage

He clearly was a British incarnation of Frank Lloyd Wright, just way better because he’s not so mainstream overrated.

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You can just wonder about connection and continuity; separation and whole; nature and industry (which I’d be way more in favour of juxtaposing than nature and culture); earth and sky. I could tell you more about what it reminds me of, and it obviously reminds me of my alma mater which isn’t my alma mater as such but it is my spiritual alma mater, namely Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland (the twin city of Philadelphia, USA; Goettingen, Germany; Angers, France; Swindon, England; and Leiden, The Netherlands, among others).

It also, obviously, brings to mind the Barbican Estate in London. I visited it in April 2019 and wrote about it… well, I meant to write about it in April 2019, but it turns out I never finished the post. So in the meantime, here are some photos of Barbican that I posted on Instagram.

And when it comes to Nicolaus Copernicus University, here’s a picture of little me on its main campus in Bielany, Torun, Poland.

Summer 1999

All photographs in this post were taken by me, except for the last one, which was taken by one of my parents.

Published by kotersey

Graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First in geography, and from the University of Brighton with a Master's in history of design and material culture. Probably drinking iced coffee and thinking about buildings.

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