Student Housing at Plateglass Universities: A Comparative Study

Article published in Arquitetura Revista (ISSN 1808-5741), 16 (1), pp. 97-118. (Authors: Débora Domingo-Calabuig, Laura Lizondo-Sevilla)

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The Robbins report published in 1963 took stock of higher education in postwar Britain and proposed new guidelines for university entrance policies. Tremendous efforts were made to promote seven new universities or ‘plateglass universities’, to use the term coined by Michael Beloff in 1968. This achievement was possible thanks to the close cooperation of interdisciplinary teams in which architects endeavoured to translate educational goals into built works. Existing literature examines the situation before, during and after this great undertaking from sociological and teaching viewpoints, and also takes a closer look at architectural works of note. However, there are few comparative studies of accommodation, and this paper is the first one to compare the architecture of student accommodation and its crucial contribution to university education at the seven plateglass universities. The authors have redrawn and compared the plans of student housing at the seven universities under study, and then analysed them with regard to their respective architectural and urban projects. The findings offer  critical insight into how student residences contributed to campus design and placed particular emphasis on the private and community spheres of student life.