The Spine is to be continuously flanked from end to end with public rooms, lively and inviting places lit up at night, which the students will go there to mix. These rooms will be more like the lively high street of a small town than part of a secluded campus…the first aim is to prevent the emergence of a “nine to five” university.
Charles Carter, the first Vice Chancellor of the University
The Spine is the name used to describe the covered walkway that spans from one end of campus to the other. It was designed in order to allow pedestrians to walk along the whole of the campus, sheltered from the wind. Portions of the walkway were left open to the sky to let in the natural light, thus avoiding the heavy costs of providing indoor lighting for the passage way. However, this means that on a typically rainy day in Lancaster, pedestrians have to zigzag to and fro along the mile and a half of walkway to keep dry. The spine also acts as a wind tunnel during windier days, which in addition to the hilltop location of the university, no doubt blew many a mullet off centre during the 1960ís and 70ís.
The architects of the university designed the Spine so that it would follow the natural gradient of the land. The main architect, Gabriel Epstein believed that steps would hinder the flow of conversation between pedestrians.