The AJ selects the best in British academic architecture, from the monastic cloisters of Oxbridge to the Victorian pomp of the red-bricks
5. Whitworth Hall, University of Manchester
Whitworth Hall, designed by Paul Waterhouse, was built between 1895 and 1902. The hall is situated on the south-easterly side of the Old Quadrangle of the university and has been Grade II listed since 1963.
The Hall is constructed of sandstone, with red tiled roofs in fishscale bands, and is connected to the Manchester Museum via a two-storey entrance archway.
4. School of Engineering, The University of Leicester
James Stirling’s first major project was the School of Engineering at the University of Leicester. The ground floor holds extensive workshops and laboratories, while the vertical mass contains offices and lecture theatres. Completed in 1963, the building is noted for its technological and geometric character, created by the contrast of large areas of glazing with heavy masonry forms. Stirling went on to design similarly striking university buildings for Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews.
3. Cripps Building, St John’s College, The University of Cambridge
The Cripps building, named after its benefactor Sir Humphrey Cripps, was built in 1966-67 as part of the great expansion of higher education in the 1960s. It has two blocks, Upper River Court and Lower River Court, and was designed by architects Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya who had to accommodate a brook which runs through the site and important existing buildings that were awkwardly aligned.
2. Glasgow School of Art, University of Glasgow
This Glasgow School of Art building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who had earlier attended the college. It was finally completed - 12 years after work began - in 1909. One of Mackintosh’s finest buildings, it contains a wealth of styles, from Scottish baronial architecture to art nouveau (of which he was the main British champion).
1. Radcliffe Camera, The University of Oxford
The exquisite Radcliffe Camera, completed in 1748 by the architect James Gibbs, was England’s first circular library. It is built in three main stages externally and two storeys internally. The ground stage is heavily rusticated and has a series of eight pedimented projections.
The central stage is divided into bays by coupled Corinthian columns supporting the entablature. The top stage is a balustraded parapet with vases.
- Disagree with our list? Send suggestions of your own favourite academic architecture to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first entry pulled out of the hat on 6 November will win a copy of Ruth Slavid’s Extreme Architecture
Which university has the best architecture?