Letter: College building that has made the grade

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The Independent Online
Sir: What fun to read of conflict in the Senior Common Room over modern architecture ('So what if it's ugly and uncomfortable - it's important', 7 April).

As an undergraduate in 1962 when St Catherine's College was founded, I had a rather different perspective. The rooms were by far the most comfortable and well-appointed of any Oxford college. True, others caught up with their later new buildings for students. It was difficult then to judge the aesthetics as the buildings grew from the greenfield site.

It was clear, however, that we were in the midst of an exciting architectural event, where Jacobsen's attention to detail touched every aspect of college life.

Returning now after 30 years, the beauty of St Catherine's College is immediately striking. The rooms today are certainly better than most one finds on the university conference circuit. After all the catastrophes of Sixties buildings, how marvellous that one should justly be listed Grade I.

Next time your readers are in Oxford, I recommend a trip to the end of Manor Road so that they can judge for themselves.

Yours faithfully,

TIM GARDEN

London, NW3

10 April

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