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Changing Campus

The University of Warwick was established in 1965. Its first non-temporary buildings were the Library and the Humanities. Ever since then, the university’s campus has been an ever-changing environment, as alumni have noticed.

Last time I went up there for a concert, in fact, every time I go for a concert, I go “Oh, there’s another new building, oh there’s another new building”. I mean it’s absolutely massive. They were starting to get into Tech [when I was there]…Katherine, Education, English and RE with QTS, 1990-1994

Since then, Warwick has been compared to a construction site. The reason for constant new builds is the new heave of students which is getting bigger every year. At first the university was intended for no more than 5,000 students. Now, it has over 25,000, 5 times more than previously anticipated.

The other thing is the building. There’s just incessant building, building, building. I’m sure we need it, I know Stuart Croft was saying when Oculus opened, it opened literally just in time because we just didn’t have the capacity for the students.’’ Karen Parker, Alumni and Gallery Assistant at the Mead Gallery

Even with this on-growing institute, the university is working hard to maintain a strong peaceful sense of community.

Physically, it (the campus) has changed a lot. Paradoxically, it’s busier because there are a lot more people around but it’s also quieter in that they’ve blocked off the main road that goes straight through the middle of campus. I think it makes it much easier to walk around and makes it more accessible; you can get to Rootes and Curiositea, and sit on the steps. It’s just a nicer environment.Karen Parker, Alumni and Gallery Assistant at the Mead Gallery

Even though the university keeps developing, its original landmarks are still standing strong for now. The Humanities is being succeeded by a new structure, currently under construction. After interviewing fellow students and alumni we discovered how these changes were looked upon. The Humanities building, ‘’a sight for sore eyes’’, as a current student remarked, used to be this tremendous building that the university took pride on. Our research first evidenced a negative tone towards it upon finding a 1985 publication of the Student Prospectus in which it was described as “one of the ugliest buildings at Warwick.’’ Ever since then, interviewees have shared the opinion. Nonetheless, they are sad to see it go as it has its magic and holds peoples’ memories but are also looking forward to the contemporary Arts Faculty ready for the academic year of 2022.

I think it has a really nice romantic nostalgia to it. Like, it is horrible but at the same time it is where I did all my work and where all my degree comes from. I think it will be sad when it eventually goes but it does need to.Ellie King, Joint Oxford and Warwick PhD candidate

Yes, you could tell it had been around for a while. I don’t want to be too disparaging to it. You could tell that it had been around for a while. The classrooms were quite compact. I mean you could fit everyone in the room if you needed to but it wasn’t state of the art technology. Here, there and everywhere, there were a lot of boring desks and chairs that would fold down.’’ Alumni

I like the way the new building reflects new ideas about teaching and learning. If you look at the Art Faculty building, the way they have talked about having study space and different learning spaces really presents the philosophy of the university.Ellie King, Joint Oxford and Warwick PhD candidate

Not all new developments are acting as replacements, such as the Oculus and the Lord Bhattacharya building. New students who did not attend the university before these new facilities’ time enjoy their features, like the waffles at the Oculus and the cafe and lights at the Lord Bhattacharya. Students, who knew these areas as fields, and are now PhD students at Warwick miss the events these areas held.

Oculus didn’t exist when I was an undergrad, they started building that my final year. That used to just be a big field, it was quite nice in the summer people would play frisbee or cricket, used to do film screenings on there in the summerPierre, BA French and History, 2011-2015

First Buildings. 65-66 Prospectus. Warwick Digital Collection. Model of University Library. 66-67 Prospectus. Warwick Digital Collection.
Engineering building. 72-73 Guide of First-Degree Courses. Warwick Digital Collection. The Arts Building. 76-77 Guide to First Degree Courses. Warwick Digital Collection.
Campus air view. 81-82 Guide to First Degree Courses. Warwick Digital Collection. Social Studies Faculty. 81-82 Guide to First Degree Courses. Warwick Digital Collection.
Rootes Residences. Guide to First Degree Courses for Entry October 87. Warwick Digital Collection. New SU Hall. 87-88 Warwick Life. Warwick SU Handbook. Warwick Digital Collection.
SU Renovation. Warwick Life 90-91. Warwick Digital Collection. Campus. 2003 Undergrad Prospectus. Warwick Digital Collection.
Campus. 2005 Warwick intro-Living and Studying at the University of Warwick. Warwick Digital Collection.

Campus. 2008 Postgraduate Prospectus. Warwick Digital Collection.

Campus Life. 2019 Postgraduate Prospectus. Elena’s personal  archive.