Arts and design have played an essential role in shaping the University’s character
The University of Southampton commissioned architect Sir Basil Spence in 1956 to prepare a masterplan of Highfield Campus. Spence’s plan, which included a dramatic landscape, and clusters of buildings including Nuffield Theatre, has served the University for over 40 years.
For Spence, the intention of the landscape was to create a place of relaxation and reflection, as well as a social space. This verdant environment featuring specimen trees is complemented by a series of mid to late twentieth century sculptures.
Works include a reclining figure by F E McWilliam, inspired by a trip to the ancient volcanic Puy de Dôme area of Massif Central in France. In the west campus stand two significant sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, that look out at each other across a stream. These standing forms are characteristic of the artist’s interest in the human form and its relationship to landscape.
The two latest acquisitions to the University’s sculpture collection can be seen at Boldrewood Innovation Campus, a centre for innovation, business, and education in maritime engineering and engineering sciences.
The defiant, upright stature of Manifold 9:8 by Conrad Shawcross is fitting given the engineering context of Boldrewood. ‘Imbued with an appearance of scientific rationality, Shawcross often appropriates redundant theories and methodologies to create ambitious structures in diverse materials.’
Echo of the inside (Column Cube I), 2011 by Neha Choksi’s in its scale and rough, concrete render suggests a human presence, set against an array of state of the art buildings.
Explore our collection of University sculptures across our campuses