We asked Leeds students if Roger Stevens is ‘pretty’, and the response was alarming

Unpopular opinion but it’s quite fit


The Guardian recently published an article showcasing the best brutalist architecture in northern England. To every University of Leeds student’s dismay, none other than the Roger Stevens building was included. Most of us refuse to believe you can admire this building if you’ve ever had to navigate the staircases, but has the hate gone too far? Is RS actually an architectural masterpiece that we’ve all been conditioned to despise?

It’s well known that most students loathe the building for its maze-like interior and prison-like façade. But architecture buffs seem to have an appreciation for the building that most students overlook, and some students have accused people of hating on the building to merely follow the trend.

So, we conducted a poll on our Instagram to settle the debate once and for all, and the results are disturbing. Out of over 1,500 students, 36 per cent of students said Roger Stevens was “pretty”, compared to 64 per cent who agreed it was butters. That means, despite RS hate being the dominant narrative, over a third of students actually think the building is quite nice.

He does look pretty in the sun, come on

In defence of Roger Stevens, Elise, a third year Fashion Marketing student, told The Tab Leeds the hate has gone too far: “To be honest, I think people needs a new personality trait. I really like it early in the morning when the light comes through the windows. It’s like a greenhouse. Could be a lot worse, could be EC Stoner”.

Olivia, a second year Biology student said: “It’s a pain to get around, but the pond is nice”.

Georgie, third year English Literature, told us: “I actually really like it. The design is really cool, especially wth the café and the glass and the pond. It’s got loads of doors to outside in random places and is by the community garden which is really cool in contrast with the fuck-off concrete pillars”.

It has become a bit of a running joke to hate the building for both its (lack of) functionality and its looks, and LeedsFess is always littered with Roger Stevens hate:

LeedsFess speaking for the people

But, in response to this LeedsFess, one student commented: “It’s like that bit in Harry Potter with the moving stairs and everyone gets lost on their way to the common room and then Dawn French breaks a glass with her beautiful voice. Except it’s actually Roger Stevens and everyone is getting lost on the stairs on the way to their lectures and instead of Dawn French you have the birdsong of students going ‘wait, which floor am I on?’. And for that reason, I like Roger Stevens. I like it very much.”

Another quite rightly said: “Bet they all shag the Barbican though”.

Just me and Roger on a socially distanced date xo

Matthew Steele, in an article about a new book celebrating British brutalist buildings, called it “aspirational and inspired” architecture. He wrote for The Guardian: “Designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. Built 1968–71, listed Grade II. The building was erected to house multiple lecture theatres, and acts as a focal point of Leeds University’s expanding campus. An initial design was abandoned in 1963, its cantilevered theatres deemed too expensive. A simpler proposal for ramped circulation eliminated the need for cantilevers. Simplified thus, the building went ahead. Constructed of reinforced concrete, since painted, its character is derived from the ventilation pipes and recessed balconies.”

So, maybe we’ve been too dismissive of the building. Despite the unnavigable staircases, maybe we should accept him in all his concrete glory as a piece of interesting architecture that we all just love to hate.

Send us your opinion on Roger Stevens via our Instagram DMs to let us know what you think.