Gambrel College is the twenty-fourth founded college of the University of Aldergate.
The first college founded after the coronation of Allie Fortnight, Gambrel shares much of its character with that illustrious woman. For good, and for ill.
Construction began in 1840. The college went up faster, and has endured less change, than any other of similar or earlier vintage. It was built all of a piece and every brick laid still stands.
The early days of Gambrel were heavily influenced by its intellectual and cultural program of exchange with Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha’s Egypt. This relationship proved highly convenient to all concerned in a variety of ways, most of them plausibly deniable, and none of them connected with the eventual British protectorship.
The most significant change in Gambrel's recent history was the construction of Triple-E, which cannibalized two of the enclosed quadrangles for the erection of the two great glass towers.
Faced in deep red terracotta brick (allegedly imported from the Nile; actually from North Wales) the college has a unique and distinctive aesthetic. Stately and dignified, its many-gabled roofs look out of both sides of each building. Distinctly British, but colonially British, vibrant with new ideas gleefully snatched and absorbed.
The Gatehouse of Gambrel College - aka "the Doorway of Ghosts,” apparently - stands astride Wych Street (formerly Lych Street, the route by which corpses not designated for interment within the University left the old part of the city). Even in the darkest night, its polished white limestone shines just as it did when Muhammed Ali Pasha set it on a barge and sent it up to Aldergate as a tribute. He’d nicked most of the casing stones from the Great Pyramid of Giza for his new mosque, but these were a present to the then-VC - along with many lovely, looted, and sadly un-islamic treasures that also now feature in the College’s collection.
The Triple-E obelisks were erected to create new space for desk and bench research. These twin crystalline Cleopatra’s needles have redefined the contemporary Aldergate skyline - although, with the advent of Midwinter Hill, they no longer represent the bleeding edge of the Aldergate research network.
The picture is of the Victoria Law Courts in Birmingham. The style's not far off, the colour is spot-on, and the association is appropriate.