We asked first years what they thought these campus buildings were for

I don’t even know what all my kitchen utensils are for, let alone anything outside my flat

Thanks to lockdown, we first years have entered very few indoor campus spaces other than our flats and Greggs. And although we may have passed some of these buildings on our endless walks around campus with that singular course friend we met in week one, we don’t actually know what a lot of these buildings are for.

So we thought, what better than to ask our first years what they thought some campus buildings are for. The LICA building: is it an old gym, or a giant portaloo? County main, an eggbox?

With a wise third year in tow, welcome to the wild guesses of three Lancaster University freshers on what they think our campus buildings actually are.

Bowland tower

Jaya: Being completely honest, I didn’t even realise this was a building on campus until being shown a picture of it. I’m guessing some sort of Bowland accommodation as it looks like a degenerated County Main. 

Molly: My immediate, weird and idiotic first thought was ‘ooo a hospital’ which is obviously incorrect, because what hospital would be hidden behind a Spar and have ‘WAP’ written in post-its in the window? (Yes, I have impeccable vision.)

Lucy: My first thought was it’s some sort of office block or place for lecturers to hang out in. Does look like a hospital too. I see Bowland tower to the left so I’m assuming it’s a part of Bowland somehow?

Chara (the third year here to put us right): It took me a while to figure out what that building was – a year to be exact – but it turns out it’s an accommodation building belonging to Bowland college. It’s referred to as ‘The Bowland Tower.’

Computer Science Research Centre

Jaya: I think this is the computing building as I’ve walked past it a few times. The very original colour scheme reminds me of something slightly dystopian though. 

Lucy: This looks like an arts building based on how designer looking it is, but it’s very technical looking. I’m going to say… A tech degree building?

Molly: I walk past this building a lot, so I know what it is. I think it has the best colour scheme of all the buildings on campus and I swear there’s even a snazzy underpass beneath it.

Chara: This is probably my favourite building on campus and I’m quite bummed I won’t ever be able to go inside. It’s called ‘InfoLab21’ and it’s a Computer Science Research Centre for PhD students majoring in the certain field.

Law school lecture theatre

Jaya: I think this is the new lecture theatre, I’m not sure if those rectangles in the middle are strange windows or a design choice. 

Lucy: It took me so long to remember what this is but it’s the new lecture theatre. It looks so different from when I last saw it covered up with builders all around it!

Molly: I think this is the newest lecture theatre, but it looks like they took their design inspiration from a shipwrecked boat.

Chara: This is a new lecture theatre for the Law School. It looks very serious and I’m very bummed I haven’t had the chance to have a class in there because of the pandemic.

The LICA building

Jaya: I have an unfair advantage as I have actually been in this building many times, but I don’t want to ruin it for the others. So I’ll just say that it looks like one of those ‘temporary’ demountable buildings at school that weren’t actually temporary. Or it looks like a giant portaloo. 

Lucy: I know this is the LICA Building because of the pond underneath it. It’s duck central and if we’re lucky, duckling central in a few months!

Molly: I think this is the LICA building. But I also have a vague memory of seeing a bunch of middle-aged women doing Zumba inside there, so that doesn’t make much sense. To be honest, I was extremely sleep-deprived when I walked past, so I could be wrong about everything in this paragraph.

Chara: It is the mother building of all arts, if there is such a thing as a ‘mother building’. It’s the LICA building, where the Salsa Society practise their choreographies and do their classes, where students can have seminars in its many seminar rooms, and where we, as first year students, had our registration two years ago.

This building…

Jaya: All I’m beginning to realise through looking at these photos is that there were clearly clashing opinions with the people who designed campus because none of it is cohesive. Or just sheer laziness because that is just a panelled box. 

Lucy: This looks like a warehouse. You know when you’re on the motorway and you’re going past those big parcel depots? Looks like the back of a Curry’s warehouse to me.

Molly: Another strange and immediate idea with very little thought behind it- is this an oversized garage? Probably not, because putting a bench in front of a garage door would be a weird design choice.

Chara: I would say it’s probably located in Fylde and it’s the back of the room where the trash bins are. Maybe. I have no clue looking at this, even though it does seem very familiar.

Ecology Research Centre

Jaya: I already know what it is, but it looks like part of the pre-school.

Lucy: It’s like those cabins you’d see in state schools where classes would take place. I know it’s near County and the ducks, so I’m going to say it’s an environmental building or something as it’s close to water?

Molly: A very upmarket portacabin. At first I thought they’d put bookshelves in front of the windows because… that makes total sense, but now I realise they’re just blinds. (Clearly I’ve lost my impeccable vision.)

Chara: It looks like it would have lots of seminar rooms inside. I think, though I’m not entirely sure, it’s an ecology research centre or something.

Ruskin Library

Jaya: Did they render this with swimming pool tiles? 

Lucy: It looks like a museum, but I’ve never been in. Has anyone actually gone in this place or is it just a decorative building now? I agree with Jaya – it looks like the sides of a swimming pool when you’re underwater.

Molly: I think this is a museum or archive of some kind. My question: how on earth do they see anything inside? I can’t see any windows. (Although, to be honest, this whole thing has revealed that I can’t really see at all.)

Chara: The infamous Ruskin Library. It used to be an additional library and students could use it normally. It’s called the ‘Ruskin Library’ because it holds John Ruskin’s poetry collections. Unfortunately, now it is permanently locked and can only be accessed as a sort of museum.

County main

Jaya: Eggbox.

Molly: An architects’ impression of a chocolate bar.

Lucy: I took this picture and I don’t even remember the name of it. I think it’s part of County, but the non-fancy side. You have the townhouses and then… this…

Chara: This is part of County’s accommodation buildings if I’m not mistaken.

The Environmental Centre

Jaya: I genuinely don’t know what the functionality of this is other than to scare me when I’m walking around campus in the dark and I think I’m about to be confronted by a gang. 

Lucy: No idea what this is but imagine going past these people on the scaffolding while drunk. You’d be scared to pieces, thinking there was a group standing around. The flowers on the things make it look very… herbal, if you know what I mean?

Molly: I don’t think anyone knows what this is. I went there recently and was even more confused. What are they growing in those greenhouses? Who are these silhouettes and why are some of them passionately kissing? Please, keep it PG for the sake of the poor nursery kids opposite.

Chara: The building behind the weird looking fence, which would probably creep me out at night, is the back of the Environmental Centre, where I used to pass from to go to the football pitches. What a time.

So maybe we aren’t as oblivious to campus buildings as we thought. Still, if anyone has any information on why those creepy floral silhouettes even exist, I think everyone would like to be enlightened.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘Overworked, under-supported’: Why 91 per cent of Lancs students feel burnt out

Take this quiz and we’ll tell you where you should sit in the library

I went on a virtual date with a guy from every college, so you don’t have to