New exhibition explores Brutalist architecture


A new exhibition at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery explores the progressive architecture of the mid-twentieth century at the University of Leeds and beyond.

Presented in collaboration with Arup Phase 2, Another Brick in the Wall is guest curated by Simon Phipps, renowned architectural photographer, and Darren Umney, an independent writer and researcher. 

The exhibition highlights the post-war period when universities across the UK radically developed their campuses, and through the lens of architecture, examines this critical stage in the development of modern Britain.

Exhibition guest curator Darren Umney said: “The exhibition captures the utopian spirit of the new universities and the optimism of that era. Set against a backdrop of pre-war deprivation and post-war austerity, the story of the new universities invites us to reflect on what might have been.”

Photographer and guest curator Simon Phipps added: “The precincts and vistas of the new universities provide unparalleled scope for capturing photographically the memorability of image that the best post-war modernist architecture displays. 

“Leeds, Sussex and UEA are extraordinary examples of the radical architectural approach that was taken to create these ambitious new centres of learning, they consistently reward the enquiring lens.”

Running until 25 March 2023, the exhibition coincides with LEEDS 2023– with a nod to the Festival’s Smeaton 300 celebration of concrete.

Highlights on display

Putting architecture in focus

The University of Leeds campus - designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon - embodies the utopian aspirations for higher education in post-war Britain. 

New photography by Simon Phipps captures the stunning architectural legacy of these and other university campuses, Sussex and UEA, developed during the same period.

Just a 10 minute walk

Architects in this era based the design of the new universities around the idea that anywhere on campus should be within a ten-minute walk of anywhere else. 

Another Brick in the Wall explores this with the production of bespoke modernist-style enamel map panels displayed alongside a photographic series of images taken at one-minute intervals around the campuses.

From the archive

A selection of rarely exhibited items from the university and Arup archives demonstrates the aesthetic vision of the architects, the complexity of their plans, and the practicalities required to build them.

The exhibition includes a 1967 drawing of what would become the Roger Stevens building designed by Chamberlin Powell and Bon; the architects behind some of the University of Leeds’s most iconic campus architecture.

Striking Visual Language

The exhibition develops an innovative and striking visual language which contrasts archival imagery with iconic and illustrative texts from the period. The result is a compelling insight into the architectural, archival and cultural landscape of the period.

Further Information

Another Brick in the Wall launches at a special preview event on Tuesday 22 November 2022 at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and runs until Saturday 25 March 2023. 

Entry is free. For more details and opening times, visit the Galleries website.

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