Like Trinity College, the university is beautiful, and quite different from our University of Colorado in Denver.
Established in the 1845 by Queen Victoria, to whom it owes its name, and opened in 1849, the university was intended to be a secular alternative to Trinity College in Dublin, which has strong religious affiliations. To read more about Trinity College, you can visit my earlier blog post here. Having visited both colleges, it was interesting to learn that Queen's was designed directly in response to Trinity. Queen's was also the first university in Northern Ireland, and the first class numbered 90. Today, it serves 24,955 students, including undergrads and post-grads. The main building of the university was designed by Charles Lanyon, a prominent architect at the time, who designed many other famous buildings including the Palm House in the Belfast Botanic Gardens, which you may remember from yesterday's blog post. Lanyon is well recognized for the magnitude and multitude of his projects, but also for the wide range of styles he was able to design in, including Victorian Gothic and Italian Renaissance, applied to buildings including churches, schools, greenhouses, and more. His works can be seen all over the UK, though the highest density of them remain in Belfast, the city he is most closely associated with. Today, he is often considered one of the most influential architects of the Victorian Era.
When it was first built, this college would certainly have been a visual sign of the prosperity of the growing, modernizing town of Belfast. Today, it is still an equally beautiful and imposing figure.
In the years it has been opened, Queen's University has grown drastically to keep up with its growing student population, and today comprises of several dozen buildings, scattered into the university neighborhood of Belfast. These buildings have a wide range of architectural styles, ranging form Victorian Gothic to 60s concrete. Most are funny modern on the inside, and serve the school a wide range of purposes for its 20 academic school departments.
I very much enjoyed visiting this university, and, once again, I was struck by the sheer amount of very specific, political architecture. This building is another clear example of where both the interior and exterior were meticulously planned to send a message, from the V. R. in the bricks to the maple wood in the Canada Room. Artistic choices are rarely made at random, and this university is one more example of this fact.
As far as schools go, I feel that every university has its on unique feels. Looking at Trinity College, Queen's University, and the University of Colorado, this is certainly true. Both Trinity and Queen's have a very grand, historic feel to them, while UCD is a lot more modern and urban. Trinity College also has a very traditional feel, while Queens, who's separate buildings are integrated into the city around them like UCDs, feels a lot less formal. I really enjoyed seeing both of these schools, which were equally interesting in their own ways, and offered a different view on the college lifestyle.