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New Faculty of Arts Building puts collaboration and engagement at the heart of a new campus ‘cultural quarter’

  • New University of Warwick Faculty of Arts building opened on 6 December to students, staff and the public.
  • The new building provides an interdisciplinary learning and research space and will also host events and exhibitions for campus communities and the public.
  • The building’s grounds will feature a grove of trees originating in the historic sanctuary of Delphi, a gift from the Greek Press Association in honour of the work of Professor Michael Scott of the Department of Classics and Ancient History.
  • New artworks specially commissioned for the building include a large-scale ceramics mural by Matthew Raw and a poem by Raymond Antrobus MBE.
  • The building was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios with support from Buro Happold and constructed by Bowmer + Kirkland.
  • Sustainable construction methods have saved approximately 264.8 tonnes of carbon compared to use of cement.
  • Like all new buildings on campus built in the last 7 years the building has photovoltaic panels installed on its roof, generating green electricity.

On 6 December, the University of Warwick opened the doors of its newest building, the Faculty of Arts, to its students, research and teaching staff and the public.

Exterior of FAB credit Bowmer & Kirkland

The £57.5m eight storey building, designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and constructed by Bowmer + Kirkland, brings together a diverse and international mix of minds from all walks of life, creating the optimum environment for generating a universe of ideas.

Previously dispersed academic departments, researchers and teachers within the arts and humanities at Warwick will be brought under one roof, with the aim of encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and teaching excellence.

The building is intended not only as an outstanding new centre for teaching and research, but also to offer an interactive hub for engagement, with a new curator appointed to organise events and exhibitions for campus communities and the public.

The building design, which has the principles of collaboration, creativity, inspiration and innovation embedded at its core, spans 15,000m2 of floor space 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.

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.”FAB stair, credit Bowmer & Kirkland

Professor Penny Roberts, Vice-Provost and Chair of the Faculty of Arts, said: “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 the whole of the University 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.”

James Breckon, Estates Director said: “The building demonstrates a great example of successful professional collaboration from the design and construction sector. Design was led by FCBStudios, engineering by Buro Happold, project management by MACE, and cost consultancy by Turner & Townsend. The main contractor was Bowmer Kirkland. With the Estates project team and Faculty representatives we collectively completed this high quality, timeless building to the principles of the campus masterplan. Built through a pandemic the team have showed great fortitude, resilience and commitment to navigate successfully to completion and should be very proud.”

Andy Theobald, Partner FCBStudios said “Our shared vision for the new Faculty of Arts building was one of providing a platform for engagement and interaction at the heart of the University Campus. The clusters of academic studios and teaching spaces are arranged around a dramatic sculptural central stair that physically and visually brings together all the faculty departments in an inspiring environment. Spaces for performative, teaching, learning and research opportunities throughout the building provide an appropriate vantage point for the study of human interaction.

“The building sits within a ring of existing trees, its terracotta cladding grounding the building, and recalling the surrounding Warwickshire clays as much as the ancient Greek pottery on display within. The sustainability agenda for this project goes beyond energy efficient design. Constructed out of materials that will last, it has future flexibility built-in and is designed to be both life enhancing and responsive to change.”

In line with the University of Warwick’s sustainability commitments, the building achieves a BREEAM “Excellent” rating and an EPC A energy rating; it is a fully integrated smart building, designed to reduce operating carbon footprint, increase user comfort, and inform operational performance - the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system includes a multitude of sensors from C02 monitors to weather information and the smart systems are integrated with weather data, notifying building users whether it is best to leave windows open or closed overnight to ensure optimum comfort and building performance.

A low carbon cement substitute was used in the concrete frame saving an estimated 264.8 tonnes of carbon compared to use of cement. The foundations of the building are built from the recycled concrete from the previous car park that stood on the site, saving materials and the need to transport new materials to site. Like all new buildings on campus built in the last 7 years it has Photovoltaic panels installed on its roof, generating green electricity.

The new building sits adjacent to the new Warwick Arts Centre development, close to the University’s main Library, establishing a creative and cultural quarter of campus.

30 November 2021

ABOUT THE TEAM: The building was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, with engineering support from Buro Happold. Project management was by MACE, and cost consultancy by Turner & Townsend. The construction phase was led by Bowmer + Kirkland, MCW Architects , ARUP Structural Engineering and Derry Building Services also supported the project with landscape architects Uncommon Land and Land Use.

About the Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts at Warwick regularly appears in the Top 50 for Arts & Humanities in the QS World Subject Rankings. The Faculty works with partner organisations across a spectrum of sectors and around the world to produce research which informs policy, enhances quality of life and provides cultural enrichment. Five of its departments were ranked in the top 10 in the UK for their unit of assessment in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

About Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Feilden Clegg Bradley StudiosLink opens in a new window [FCBStudios] have experience in designing for education, housing, masterplanning and urban design as well as places for art and the creative reuse of historic buildings. The practice started small 40 years ago and has grown to over 200 staff. Committed to social and humanistic values in their work, FCBStudios are proud to have won the RIBA Stirling Prize for Accordia, a scheme which is widely regarded as setting a new benchmark for housing in the UK and to have recently collected RIBA National Awards for the restoration and renovation of Southbank CentreLink opens in a new window’s brutalist buildings and Alexandra Palace’s East Wing and Victorian TheatreLink opens in a new window.

Photos Hi Res available on request, credit Bowmer & Kirkland.


Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager

07876 218166