Listed buildings

The Meeting House: Grade II*

By Jennifer Drury

Multi-purpose space

The Meeting House at the University of Sussex was designed by Sir Basil Spence, and completed in 1966. It is composed of red brick and previously bare board-marked concrete, which unfortunately has been painted. "It is not clear who sanctioned the painting of this university building, but it does appear to be a schoolboy error. Exterior concrete, or brick for that matter, should never be painted, especially when it belongs to a Grade II* listed structure."(Robert Nemeth 2011)

It has a conoidal (cone shaped) copper covered roof. The building has a circular plan with the ground floor containing meeting rooms fully glazed and recessed with brick buttresses which project across a surrounding 'moat'. The ground floor also has a multi-purpose space that can be used for quiet contemplation during the day and public meetings or recitals at night.

Click on the photographs to open a large view in a new page.

Photo:Meeting House: University of Sussex

Meeting House: University of Sussex

Photo by Tony Mould

Photo:Meeting House: University of Sussex

Meeting House: University of Sussex

Photo by Tony Mould


An important focal point

The upper floor contains a 350-seater interdenominational chapel with board-marked concrete, having multi-coloured glazing in the gaps between the blocks. The chapel contains original Spence fittings, including a square altar and a lectern, all set on circular pedestal three steps high. The Meeting House is an important focal point for the University campus.

Click on the photographs to open a large view in a new page.

Photo:Meeting House: University of Sussex

Meeting House: University of Sussex

Photo by Tony Mould

Photo:Meeting House: University of Sussex

Meeting House: University of Sussex

Photo by Tony Mould

This page was added on 18/08/2012.
Comments about this page

The Meeting House was built on the site of the Stanmer estate workshops. While the Stanmer valley to the west was the site of the big house and the church and estate village, the valley that is now the University of Sussex was far more utilitarian. All that really remains now in a built form from pre university days are the Knights Gate cottages adjacent to the A27 on the southern rim of the campus.

By Geoffrey Mead (09/09/2012)

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