Gathering for conversation is an important act – it always has been – in the age of accelerating media cyles and rising cynicism, face-to-face discussion may be more important than ever.
The art of conversation is particularly important for the arts and humanities disciplines. There are no labs or algorithms for testing out theories, all research and teaching is in fact a form of dialogue. Ideas are tested through conversation. Academic papers and books are in fact a written form of conversation which will be picked up and engaged with as a dialogue, sparking new interpretations and ideas for each reader. The Faculty of Arts Building (FAB) at Warwick University was designed to facilitate and encourage these conversations, from formal seminars and tutorials to chance encounters.
The culture within each of the seven departments was slightly different. But we noticed there was a commonality across them all: a need to communicate and to have a place to do so. The interior of the building is made up of spaces for ad hoc meetings and dialogue with benches, alcoves, corners and ledges with artwork, artefacts, and open-access multimedia displays available across the public areas.