A SPACE THAT ENRICHES LEARNING ACROSS THE ARTS
The University of Warwick Faculty of Arts building has been shortlisted for the 2023 Stirling Prize for Building of the Year.
Working closely with the University of Warwick, we designed a sustainable and refined space for staff and students to build new connections in the heart of the University Campus.
Nestled within the beautifully landscaped campus of the University of Warwick, The Faculty of Arts building unites the Arts and Humanities Faculties. This bright and open space has become the cultural focus of the university and boasts a prime location on the main route across campus.
The combination of the client’s ambitions to create a new model of working for the faculty, and the architect’s creativity in articulating this ambition through a holistic design approach, has resulted in a delightful building with a series of engaging spaces that are both inviting and flexible, enabling collaboration, creativity and innovation
RIBA Award Judges
BALANCING BEAUTY AND FUNCTION
The building is designed to be approached from all sides. It’s composed of four light-filled pavilions set around a grand central stair, with each pavilion housing teaching spaces, offices and academic clusters. In place of a traditional atrium at ground level, a sculptural wooden stair spirals around a series of spaces for use as studios, exhibition and event spaces.
The design seamlessly fits in with the landscaped surroundings, and provides ample opportunities for serendipitous meetings, collaborations and interaction.
I love bumping into people and having conversations when you cross paths... it really does enable collaboration within this building to have such an open space.
Megan Kelly, Student
space for art
In addition to the space itself, two major new art pieces were commissioned for the building. Matthew Raw’s ‘Faith in the Miraculous’ is a bespoke ceramic mural at the entrance of the building that marks the inclusive, collaborative ambition of the space. Read more about Matthew's process of creating the piece. Raymond Antrobus’ poem entitled ‘Resonance’ is an ode to the building’s landscape setting. The poem is displayed in the foyer and is read by the poet in our film. The result of the building is a serene environment – the perfect backdrop for scholarship, teaching and learning that will enrich the experiences of both students and staff.
WHEN LESS IS MORE
To significantly reduce the footprint of the building and the volume of materials used, we challenged the number and size of standard academic offices and cellular space described in the brief.
Larger academic studios resulted in a more open building which promotes a sense of invitation and community, encourages higher levels of space use between scheduled teaching, and creates a place that will better serve the Faculty of Arts for years to come.
We were also able to leave out more than 450 metres of internal partitioning, glazed screens, doors and MEP equipment, alongside the associated embodied carbon - typical of our lean approach to design.