Rate it or hate it: Why I hate Castle Leazes

One of our writers tells us why she hates the infamous Castle Leazes halls.

Alexantra Theodosiou
25th October 2021
The infamous Castle Leazes halls. Image Credit: Geograph
Walking through and around the Newcastle University campus, there are many beautiful sights to see. You can view the Armstrong arches, the Exhibition Park lake and its many ducks, all the old and new buildings, statues, sculptures, trees, gardens and parks. Yet, there is one thing out of place within all this gorgeous landscape and architecture: Castle Leazes.

The plain, harsh, personality-lacking exterior of the Castle Leazes accommodation buildings simply ruins the beautiful view of Leazes park and the delightful green cow inhabited fields surrounding it. Not only does it look like a disappointing, unfit place for a student to thrive and express their creativity, but its resemblance with Soviet brutalist architecture from the 1970s is uncanny, and it almost matches the description perfectly.

According to Designing Buildings Wiki, “Brutalist buildings are characterised by ‘their massive, monolithic and 'blocky' appearance with a rigid geometric style and large-scale use of poured concrete”. Still not convinced? Here I present two pictures of Brutalist architecture from the Soviet Union (Top) side by side with two pictures of Castle Leazes (Bottom)

A Rare View of Siberia's Soviet Architecture. Image Credit: ArchDaily
File:Castle Leazes, Newcastle University, 5 September 2013 ...
A view of Leazes from 2013. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The resemblance is evident, and no one can deny that a building style that's been commonly used in communist states such as Siberia (pictured above) through communism should not be a building style used in modern-day to house people in their journey through education.

Moreover, the interior is just as bad, old and crumbling with badly painted walls and floors. Doors are often troublesome or broken, appliances don't working correctly and there are overwhelming load of flat horror stories from house parties or general student behaviour.

Though I have horror stories from my personal visits to Castle Leazes, for an authentic experience example I reached out to a former Castle Leazes resident (who would like to remain anonymous) asking for one of their worst experiences. They stated:

 One night, someone took a sh*t in the shower of the flat next to mine.

- Anonymous

This may sound funny, but I don’t think anyone would like to wake up and walk into their shower to find out someone had taken a dump in there the night before. Not only is it unhygienic, but straight up disgusting. Of course, although these types of horror stories can be found in any student accommodation, for some reason Castle Leazes has one too many.

In conclusion, I would say Castle Leazes was a project not very well thought out, and it continues to be disappointing in spite of the infamous parties or the wide expanses of grass and cows grazing around it. It is truly a sight to see but preferably only once in a lifetime, as it’s nice to tell stories but not to be scarred forever. To anyone living in Leazes this year, good luck, take care, and hopefully the cows won’t be too appalled by the end of it.

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