The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Laver Harrison Building, Louis de Soissons Partnership
Harris Memorial Chapel, E Vincent Harris

South West

Exeter visit and Mervyn Seal tour

We had our first event on the 4th October, a walking tour of Exeter University Campus lead by Exmouth based architect Paul Humphries with 15 attending.  We were joined by Ian Millar, Head of Buildings at the University, who gave us access into some of the newer buildings, principally the Forum (Wilkinson Eyre 2012) where we saw some impressive new interactive touch screen tables around which groups of students work.  We toured the interior of the Great Hall (Holford and Partners, 1960), redolent of the Royal Festival Hall, and the Chemistry and Physics Buildings (Basil Spence 1963-7), the latter having been very carefully updated for modern use without detriment to the original entrance lobby and glazing.

Amongst several other buildings we viewed internally were the Laver Harrison Buildings (Louis de Soissons Partnership 1966) with fine original entrance hall, stairs and mezzanine, and the Harris Memorial Chapel (E. Vincent Harris 1956) with Tom Monnington’s beautiful ceiling abstract (photos of the chapel interior and the front elevation of the Laver building, above).  John East was able to join us and took many photographs which I hope we can share at a later date. The day will be written up fully in the next C20 magazine.

In the meantime we are now focussing on our next event, a tour of the work of Torbay based architect Mervyn Seal, over the weekend of the 19/20 March.  Jon Wright, who wrote the piece on Seal in the most recent Society Journal ‘Houses; Regional Practice and Local Character’, will be leading the weekend and we hope to be joined by Mervyn Seal for part of the tour.

Tony Stokoe