In the June 1936 edition of Country Life, Campion Hall was profiled by noted journalist Arthur Oswald as part of a series on 'The Universities of Oxford & Cambridge.' Oswald reminds the reader that the then-new Campion Hall was, surprisingly, the first building designed in Oxford by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the famous British architect. It was also the first Catholic college to be established at Oxford since the Reformation, so the challenge facing Lutyens was not inconsiderable: How to create a space that both "preserves the legacy of past generations" without thereby sacrificing style or originality?
Oswald pronounces the final verdict: "The result, in the hands of someone less gifted, might easily have been only another example of pedantry or preciosity. Campion Hall is neither: free from irritating stylistic reminiscences, it is at once a genuine expression of its achitect's temperament and a practical solution of the problem presented."
What follows is an astute tour through the Hall, with particular attention paid to its architectural and design features. Oswald was especially impressed by Lutyens' expert use of wood, especially in the Chapel and the Library.
Whether one has visited the Hall in person or not, the Country Life profile brings this space alive in a way that can only be the product of genuine appreciation. What the resder most clearly senses is the sense of history, the high level of technical skill, and the vibrancy of experience that instructs daily life at Campion.
The full feature from 1936 is available to view on the left-hand side of this page. ###