Press release issued 1 July 2009
An exhibition of some of the most significant buildings that have been commissioned and owned by the University since its early days as University College Bristol in the 1870s opens at the Architecture Centre in Bristol today [Wednesday 1 July] and runs until 31 August.
In addition to well-known local landmarks, less familiar, beautiful and historic buildings, interiors and gardens will be revealed through text, images, models and film.
The University’s buildings date from the 18th century and include some of the finest Georgian architecture in Bristol, such as Clifton Hill House (1746) and Royal Fort House (1758-61). In the first half of the 20th century, thanks to the generosity of the Wills family, the University commissioned many works by Sir George Oatley, including the Wills Memorial Building (1925), the last great secular Gothic building to be constructed in this country. Many other important Bristol buildings, such as the Victoria Rooms (1838-42), and the former Baptist College (1912-19) have been given to or bought by the institution over the years.
Some of the more recent distinctive commissions include the Synthetic Chemistry Building (1999), and, most recently, the Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information (2009). All these and more will feature in the exhibition.
The masterplan for the University precinct that was adopted by Bristol City Council in July 2006 will also be on display.
An accompanying film will chart key events in the University’s architectural history, from King George V and Queen Mary opening the Wills Memorial Building in 1925, to Harry Patch switching on the lights to illuminate the same building in 2008.
The exhibition, which forms part of the University's extensive centenary exhibitions programme, is curated by architectural historian Dr Sarah Whittingham, a Bristol University graduate and author of a guide to the Wills Memorial Building (2003), Sir George Oatley: Architect of Bristol (forthcoming, 2009) and The University of Bristol: A History (forthcoming, 2009).
The exhibition will run at the Architecture Centre, which is located on Narrow Quay beside the Arnolfini and across from Bordeaux Quay, until the end of August. Detailed directions and a downloadable map are available from the Centre’s website. Tel. 0117 922 1540.
Please contact Dara O'Hare for further information.
Sir George Oatley, the University's chief architect
That was then: University College, Bristol in 1876 (now the site of the Panoramic flats)
The refectory in 1949. Previously the old Venetian Gothic Museum and Library, today Brown's restaurant
This is now: The Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information
Image by Liz Eve/Fotohaus