C20 Journal 11 - Oxford and Cambridge

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Edited by Elain Harwood, Alan Powers & Otto Saumarez Smith

In the popular imagination the universities of Oxford and Cambridge conjure up images of venerable ivy-covered courts and quads preserving an antiquated way of life. The 20th Century Society’s new journal presents an alternative picture, detailing some of the significant changes to the physical fabric of these universities during the twentieth century. Buildings after 1920 in the universities and colleges of these two universities represent a microcosm of wider architectural change, veering between the conservative and the revolutionary. Well funded and well documented, often by architects of international standing, they represent a rich topic for study both individually and as a group, raising questions of patronage, changing needs and perceptions of style, and some lost opportunities.

The essays in this collection highlight examples about which little if anything has been previously published. From the inter-war period there are articles on Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, architect of Cambridge’s University Library, on Sir Edwin Lutyens’s Campion Hall, and the failed attempts by Walter Gropius and Maxwell Fry to import an international Modernism to Oxbridge in the thirties. Conservatism dominated until the late 1950s, then Modernism rapidly gained ground, seldom without controversy. Further articles cover the master-plan for new faculty buildings on the Sidgwick site, Cambridge by Casson and Conder, as well as the controversies surrounding the imposition of a new scale needed for scientific research in Cambridge’s centrally located New Museums Site by Arup Associates. Further articles deal with the St Cross Library, Oxford by Colin St John Wilson; the Senior Common Room at Downing College, Cambridge by Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis, a famous example of contextual Modernism, and lastly how one of the superstars of international modernism, Arne Jacobsen, came to design one of the most archetypically English institution, an Oxford college.


‘A Pastiche or a Packing Case’: Building in Twentieth-Century Oxford and Cambridge’ by William Whyte

‘Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in Oxbridge’ by Gavin Stamp

‘Lutyens’s Design for Campion Hall, Oxford’ by David Frazer Lewis

‘Two Modernists Might-Have Beens: Gropius and Fry in Oxford and Cambridge’ by Alan Powers

‘The Post-War Traditionalists in Oxford and Cambridge’ by William Fawcett

‘The Richardson Candles’ by Simon Corwell

‘The Ideal Campus: The Sidgwick Site, Cambridge’ by Alistair Fair

‘Leslie Martin and the St Cross Building, Oxford’ by Elain Harwood

‘Choosing an Architect: Arne Jacobsen and St Catherine’s College, Oxford’ by Geoffrey Tyack

‘A Strange Brutalist ‘Primitive Hut’: Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis’s Senior Common Room at Downing College, Cambridge’ by Otto Saumarez Smith

‘Representing Science: The Architecture of the New Museums Site, Cambridge’  by Barnabas Calder

‘Modernising Some of Oxford’s listed Twentieth Century Buildings’ by Alan Berman

255 x 198 mm, 192 pp, Paperback