Introducing Denys Lasdun and Norman Foster at UEA


In this section, we’ll continue to think about the importance of how sculptures are sited out of doors, but this time, we’ll consider how they work in relation to the architectural heritage of our campus sculpture park.

So before we look at the sculptures, themselves, let’s take a closer look at their architectural setting, and in particular the work of leading British architects Denys Lasdun and Norman Foster. This will help us to understand the distinctive nature of our campus sculpture park, and where it sits in relation to a wider post-war trend to place sculptures in publicly accessible urban settings.


Professor Stefan Muthesius is a specialist in the history of architecture from the 18th to 20th centuries. He taught at UEA from 1968 until his retirement and is an Honorary Professor in the School. He is the co-author, with Peter Dormer, of Concrete and Open Skies: Architecture at the University of East Anglia 1962-2000 (London: Unicorn Press, 2001), a study of the UEA campus.

In this illustrated podcast. I went on a ‘walk and talk’ with Stefan, asking him to point out the distinctive architectural features of Lasdun’s original complex. He also introduces the vision behind the ‘new universities’, and the exciting challenge and opportunities this offered to leading architects of the time.


In this wonderful archive film, UEA’s first Vice Chancellor, Frank Thistlethwaite, and the architect, Denys Lasdun, present their vision for the University of East Anglia. (The sound starts at 40 seconds.)

Denys Lasdun Chosen To Design The New Norwich University (1963) | East Anglian Film Archive (


Stefan and I ended our walk looking out over the Sainsbury Centre, itself. Let’s now take a look at this iconic early work by Norman Foster.

In this illustrated podcast, I asked Ghislaine Wood, Deputy Director of the Sainsbury Centre, to talk us through the history of our Norman Foster building, which was built specifically to house the Sainsbury Collection. We also discussed how Moore, Foster and the Sainsburys understood the relationship between architecture, sculpture and the campus environment.