Thank you to everyone who came to the official opening of the Faculty of Arts Building and subsequent FAB Fest celebration on Friday 20 May. The afternoon was a wonderful example of engagement and creativity as we celebrated all that is unique about the arts at Warwick and establishing our commitment to raising the profile of arts in our community and making it accessible to new audiences.
The stunning £57.5m eight storey building will be reuniting previously dispersed academic departments, staff and students within the arts and humanities at Warwick under one roof, with the aim of encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and teaching excellence. The building will be the new home to the departments and research centres currently located in Humanities Building, Millburn House, and Ramphal, with the move of some departments already underway.
Not only will the building be an outstanding new centre for teaching and research, but it will offer an interactive hub for engagement, with a new curator appointed to organise events and exhibitions for campus communities and the public. The Faculty of Arts building now forms part of Warwick’s creative and cultural quarter on campus, along with Warwick Arts Centre.
Professor Penny Roberts, Vice-Provost and Chair of the Faculty of Arts explains the purpose and vision behind the building:
“The new Faculty of Arts Building (the FAB) is all about collaboration: between the architects, the contractors, our Estates team and the Arts Faculty in creating a student-focused and community space. While providing a collective home for all the Arts and Humanities disciplines, it is a building for both staff and students as well as for engagement with the wider community. It will facilitate and enrich research and teaching collaboration between disciplines and co-creation with our students, a place for everyone to enjoy and thrive."
Strengthening our cultural appeal
Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Warwick said:
“This exciting project continues to raise the bar in the standards of the facilities we provide to support teaching and research on our campus. I'm extremely pleased that the new building, in close proximity to the newly opened Warwick Arts Centre, also strengthens the University's appeal as a cultural destination, creating space to engage with our local community through a range of opportunities including language training, access to fantastic performance and exhibition zones, and other activities to support Coventry's Cultural Strategy in its City of Culture year.”
History and other features
The building was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with support from Buro Happold and constructed by Bowmer + Kirkland.
It has the principles of collaboration, creativity, inspiration and innovation embedded at its core, with four distinct clusters set around a grand central staircase within a full height atrium.
It offers an antiquities room, new cinema and screening rooms, theatre studios and rehearsal rooms, collaboration spaces, a media lab and edit suite along with multi-purpose events and exhibition spaces.
New artworks have been commissioned for the building including a large-scale ceramics mural, Faith in the Miraculous, by Matthew Raw, previously artist in residence at the V&A, and a specially-commissioned poem by Raymond Antrobus MBE, winner of many prizes including the Ted Hughes award, the Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year in 2019 and, most recently, nominated for the Costa Book Award 2021.
Within the grounds, trees from Delphi will be planted, donated by the Greek Press Association – the trees were grown from saplings from the historic sanctuary of Delphi in Greece and donated in honour of the academic research and public engagement work of Professor Michael Scott of the Department of Classics and Ancient History.