Cat no. 213000

About Anglia: Denys Lasdun Chosen To Design The New Norwich University

Running time7:39 Black & White Sound 1963 Norwich, Norfolk

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About Anglia item, Architect Denys Lasdun talks about his vision for the soon-to-be-built University of East Anglia.

Genre:

NewsTelevision

After establishing shots of Earlham Hall and the snow-covered virgin site of UEA, there is a succession of scale-model mock-ups for the university buildings, including the ziggurats. Next is a sketch of a tree-lined avenue with university buildings in the background, followed by a 3D topographic map of the site.

Standing in front of a series of maps, Frank Thistlethwaite, the University's first vice-chancellor, talks about the present and future of UEA, explaining that the key themes of the building project are flexibility and coherence, and the expectation of future growth in the site's size and the number of undergraduates.

Denys Lasdun himself speaks, explaining the layout of his iconic 'ziggurat' student halls, using scale models. There are occasional shots of the audience listening attentively and taking notes. Lasdun emphasises the informal nature of his design, remarking that the students will be treated like young adults, and that the distance between schools and residences gives students a chance to socialise.

Lasdun gives a face-to-face interview with a reporter, Lasdun talks about the traditional basis of his design, carried out in a revolutionary style. He is concerned with students' happiness, and argues that his tightly-organised complex of buildings compliments the 'beauty' of its host landscape. He believes he is moving on from the formality of the traditional collegiate system.

Background Information:

Sir Denys Lasdun CH (8 September 1914–11 January 2001) was an eminent English architect of the 20th century. Probably his best known work is the Royal National Theatre, on London's South Bank of the River Thames, which is a Grade II listed building and one of the most notable examples of Brutalist design in the United Kingdom.

Lasdun studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and was a junior in the practice of Wells Coates. Like other Modernist architects, including Sir Basil Spence and Peter and Alison Smithson, Lasdun was much influenced by Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, but there was a gentler, more classical influence, too, from the likes of Nicholas Hawksmoor.

Elements of Lasdun's most famous style, which combined cubic towers, bare concrete and jutting foyers, which was compared by some to Frank Lloyd Wright, can be found in his first educational buildings, the Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge and the Royal College of Physicians in Regent's Park, the latter of which compared favourably to the surrounding buildings by John Nash. More extensive was his design for the University of East Anglia. This consisted of a series of classrooms and laboratories connected by walkways, and glazed residential quarters shaped like ziggurats. [Wikipedia]

Featured People:

Denys Lasdun; Frank Thistlethwaite

Featured Buildings:

University of East Anglia

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