Locus Lancaster: Campus, Place and Experience

Architectural drawing of Lancaster University campus.

2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the award of the royal charter to Lancaster University. This symposium investigates the modernist spatial legacy of the architects and landscape architects, Bridgwater Shepheard and Epstein.

Established on a ridge, south of the city and between the M6 and A6, Lancaster’s campus is characterised by its landscape. Set amongst existing woodland, the oldest building on campus, the Grade II listed Bailrigg House (Woodfall and Eccles, 1899-1902) has a garden by Thomas Mawson. Peter Shepheard was also a landscape architect and under his influence the buildings of the 1960s, modest and straightforward, framed a linear sequence of hard and soft landscaped spaces as an integral part of the planning and organisation.

Loosely based on ideas of a classic Italian hill town, observers see the complex as the new town that Shepheard and Epstein never had the chance to design. A sense of intimate squares and passageways, with a distinct core, combined with an orthogonal modernist assembly is perhaps the easiest way to conceptualise the campus architecture.

The symposium takes a creative and engaged perspective on the original campus and the changes it has experienced in the last six decades. A series of artworks, responsive to the campus, and short, scholarly views on its architecture and landscape will be mixed with a photo walk and a private view of a pop-up exhibition of some of Lancaster Arts’ mid-century works in the permanent collection (curated by Dr Natalie Bradbury, Miranda Stearn and Adam Robinson).

Final schedule

10.30 Arrival / tea / coffee

10.45 Introduction – Richard Brook

10.55 Film – Intro and screening. Bruce Bennet and Brian Baker

11.25 Talk – Rob McCarthy – Lancaster University Architecture and Planning

11.45 Group 1 – Archive Reading Room

Group 2 – Library

12.05 Group 2 – Archive Reading Room

Group 1 – Library

12.25 Poems and talk – Helen Angell

12.40 LUNCH

13.20 Talk – Students – Learning through and with the campus

13.40 Photo walk – Led by Richard Brook

14.20 Arrive Jack Hylton Music Room for tea / coffee

14.30 Talk and installation - Holly Rowan Hesson (Jack Hylton Music Room)

14.50 Film – Outro and screening. Bruce Bennet and Brian Baker

15.10 Pop-up exhibition – talk and viewing (with snacks / wine / soft drinks)

16.00 CLOSE

Partners and Presenters

The Modernist Society

Bruce Bennett

Brian Baker

Rob McCarthy

Joy Burgess

Helen Angell

Holly Rowan Hesson

Natalie Bradbury

Miranda Stearn

Adam Robinson

Lancaster Arts

Lancaster School of Architecture

Supported by the AHRC and UKRI.

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