And after Milton Keynes, to Cranfield University for our meeting. Cranfield shows it history in its architecture, which is quite unlike any other university I’ve seen (though bits of Loughborough are remniscent) Its a 20th-century RAF base slowly morphed into a 21st-century university.
The building we had our meeting in looked like a typical bit of 1960s or so public-service surburban architecture. Vaguely reminiscent of some of the newer and tackier bits of the Inland Revenue site at Durrington when I worked there in the 1980s, or of the now-demolished Bungalow Building at Lewisham Bridge School. Thin partition walls, slightly corroded casement windows, an oddly inaccessible internal courtyard or lightwell or atrium (that word sounds far too grand) with pieces of disused aircon equipment lying around on a floor made of pebbles.
Slightly older buildings looked something like my own old primary school on a larger scale. 1950s red-brick-repectable council-estate suburban, fitting in well with older areas laid put round a fake village green with a sturdy little bus-shelter that looked like the better sort of Army married quarters. Maybe that’s exactly what they used to be.
But on top of that there is 1980s corporate business-park building that could be in one of those vast and unfocussed shedlands near Heathrow, and shiny 21st century stuff.