Showing posts from September, 2010

architectural contrasts

I've spent the past few days exploring some interesting architecture, thanks to the Open Doors events and a conference. Going from old to modern back to old and to new again has been intriguing if not disorientating.

First on the list was the new Centre for Islamic Studies in Oxford. This huge development looks finished from the main road, but clearly has a long way to go inside. The guide explained that they were trying to amalgamate traditional Islamic style with the Oxford collegiate model of building. In some senses, this works, especially the main 'quad' with its 'cloisters', which has a feel of a Moorish courtyard, but it remains to be seen what the rest of the place will look like when it's finished.

Then I visited St. Catherine's College, and was over-awed by the beautiful simplicity of the modernist design. Newer modifications have been made to Arne Jacobsen's model (principally double-glazing), and the college has expanded with more buildings,…