OSA Magazine is a platform for documenting, sharing and publicising the varied agendas of students at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture.
Here on our new weekly update, we will be recommending arts and culture events currently open in London and Oxford. We'll also be sharing articles from our limited edition print publications past, present and future, so you'll still be able to read contributions from the OSA writers, even if the magazines are sold out.
These are the 9 months of the year we all have been waiting for. Endless nights, microwave food and no social life.
For all the newcomers to oxford here is a guide to the must see architecture:
Oxford must seen
MArchD 1// Urban Design
So, you’ve just landed in Oxford and you don’t know where to look first. There’s so much beautiful architecture around the city that it feels a little overwhelming. This guide will pick out the highlights - it’s up to you to explore from there!
Map from previous OSA issue (Craft)// See Sample
Everyone has to start off with the classics. Just walk along the High Street or Broad Street and you’ll see incredible examples of the architecture that makes Oxford unique. But you’ll also get overwhelmed by tourists.
My recommendation is to visit Oxford at night. Head to James Gibbs’ Radcliffe Camera (or Rad Cam, to the locals) in the evening, and you’ll have that entire cobbled courtyard to yourself. You can peer into the All Souls Quad and check out University Church to your heart’s content. Keep an eye out for nights where the buildings are lit up, too - it’s always spectacular.
In terms of colleges to visit, everyone heads straight to Christchurch because scenes of Harry Potter were filmed there - but don’t be fooled by the tourist allure. There are plenty of places to go that are just as stunning and as historically important, and they don’t carry the same price tag or wait time. I myself have never managed to brave the seemingly mile long Christchurch queue, though the view from the meadows is not one to miss. Instead, visit Balliol or Magdalene for an authentic quad experience.
After something a little different? Check out Keble college for an outstanding use of brickwork, built in the nineteenth century. And, of course, don’t miss out on the Pitt Rivers Museum, housed next to the Natural History Museum in Deane and Woodward’s neo-gothic masterpiece.
Twentieth Century Oxford
In the late 20th century, the colleges of Oxford University went through a period of expansion - specifically in the creation of new accommodation buildings. This gave brutalist architects an incredible opportunity to work in Oxford’s historic centre - and they did not disappoint. Highlights include my personal favourite, the iconic Smithsons’ Garden Building at St Hilda’s College, and the accommodation building along the Lamb and Flag Passage, designed by Ove Arup and Partners.
For a more complete campus, head out to St Catherine’s College (St Catz). Arne Jacobsen’s Functionalist campus of now Listed buildings makes for a lovely walk. He even designed the surrounding gardens down to the tiny details.
Some of these buildings are not open to the public, especially accommodation buildings as the students need to be afforded some privacy. Rest assured - if you have an academic interest in studying the architecture and you write to the colleges they will almost certainly grant you access to the buildings - just give them a date that you want to visit and they’ll let the porters know to allow you in. You need to have a genuine reason to be visiting, though - be it an essay, or a case study for a project.
There are plenty of opportunities to be wowed by contemporary architecture in Oxford, even in the historic colleges where you’d perhaps think that modern architecture would be frowned upon. Take St Antony’s for example - Zaha Hadid has designed a curvaceous, shimmering intervention that bridges Victorian and Brutalist buildings.
For a more spiritual experience, you should head out of Oxford proper to the Bishop Edward King Chapel by Niall McLaughlin Architects (visits on weekdays only, to be arranged in advance). The use of latticed timber and clerestory windows creates a unique contemplative experience.
Herzog & de Meuron’s new Blavatnik School of Government looks set to take the circular form of the Rad Cam to new, shining heights and a must see building. BEWARE: Access denied (no! no! They have open days for the public just check their site: https://www.bsg.ox.ac.uk/events/public-open-day)
So all that’s left is for you to get out and explore! Whether it’s the baroque spiral columns of University Church or the mirrored facade of Zaha Hadid’s Middle East Centre that make you tick, you’ll find something you love in Oxford.
Image of the week:
Our featured student of the week is our own Editor-in-Chief: Jing Zhi Tan
Jing Zhi Tan
MArchD 2// Zone 05
Creator: Jing Zhi Tan// See more of her work on
her studio blog: https://ocdpiggy.wordpress.com/
Glitches: It is all in the details
The image is a metaphor to the unconscious mind, with the different islands symbolising the various areas in our minds. Up close different details are integrated showing little emergence of psychological 'glitches', exploring the realms of identifying and providing solutions for the invisible.
The image was printed and details were under scrutiny using a magnifying glass, stressing the analogue and digital contrast of the exploration of psychotherapy and possibilities of virtual reality therapy.
Events visited by OSA members:
MArchD 2// DS1
Dates: 13 May 2017 – 1 Oct 2017
Entrance: £20 (weekday), £30 (weekend)
Architects of Rock
Pigs are flying again inside the V&A. 50 years after the release of their first single, Pink Floyd have gathered artefacts and treasures to be exhibited along an audiovisual journey, offering new insight into this cryptic band that shaped the 60s and 70s. Artefacts consist of the band’s musical instruments, lyrics, photographs, new footage of the band shooted for the purposes of the exhibition, the story behind some of the most iconic songs of the last century, and of course inflatables.
“They could have joined the audience at one of their own gigs without being recognised.”
Two highlights of the exhibition occur when one reaches Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ Album, where one enters a dark room with the album’s trademark pyramid and spectrum rotating before you. Another highlight occurs entering the ‘Wish you were Here’. The only part of the exhibition with white walls and plenty of light, where one sees images such as the Burning Man, as well as a video of the two members of the band singing again the song ‘Wish you were Here’.
A great focus is given on the architectural background of three of the band members, who in collaboration with leading architects, designers and engineers staged spectacular shows that gave a new meaning to the word performance. A part of the exhibition is focusing on the band’s architectural influences at the time, which consist of architects such as Cedric Price and his project ‘the Fun Palace’, as well as Archigram’s ‘Instant City’.
A large part of the exhibition is dedicated to Pink Floyd’s revolutionary stage design as part of their “The Wall Tour”. Entering the room one sees a giant inflatable pig (Algie), sheep, a teacher with his cane, as well as an inflatable nuclear family. The inflatables are believed to have contributed a lot to the avant-garde, pneumatic, interactive structures and temporary architecture taking place in the 60s and 70s.
The exhibition ends with the last concert of the band, reunited back in 2005 with video of the concert being projected on all four walls of the room at the same time. Feels you were there.
Toby's top secret museum list (not so secret anymore):
Tate Britain: Rachel Whiteread http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/rachel-whiteread £13.10 with your student card
Saatchi Gallery (World’s number 1 museum on social media!): Iconoclasts: http://www.saatchigallery.com/exhibition/reviews/iconoclasts_i_42.htm
Serpentine: Francis Kéré
V&A: Rachel Kneebone at the V+A https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/rachel-kneebone
Design Museum: http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/california-designing-freedom £13
OxArch events of the week:
10// 10 // 2017- CJ Lim// "Inhabitable Infrastructures: science fiction or urban future?
Event info: OxArchEvent
Have a fab week
- OSA team