Friday, November 19, 2010

Engineering Building - University of Leicester

Leicester University's Engineering Building was the first major building by important British architect James Stirling. It comprises workshops and laboratories at ground level, and a tower containing offices and lecture theatres. It was completed in 1963 and is notable for the way in which its external form reflects its internal functions.
The 1963 Grade 2* Listed building by James Stirling and James Gowan was ranked fourth in the Journals top 10 buildings, celebrating the best in British academic architecture.

The basic style of this building, particularly the use of elaborate curtainwall and glass with brick, has been remade many times in various institutional settings. 
One that came to mind for me was NIH Building 50, which serves a similar function with laboratories and lecture halls, in an albeit far less exciting form. 

The fact that the architects of today are still using Stirling's blueprint almost 50 years later surely indicates how influential this design was. 

The cantilevers, columns and struts are the most distinctive and engineering intensive aspects of this building.  Like many "original" compositions, though its surface may be copied, its substance is difficult to beat. 

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