Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ impressive building brings the arts faculty’s departments and schools together under a single roof, winning it RIBA West Midlands’ Building of the Year award
West Midlands Regional Award winner
Building of the Year, sponsored by EH Smith
University of Warwick Faculty of Arts, Coventry
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios for University of Warwick, with architects MCW providing architectural services to main contractor Bowmer + Kirkland
Contract value: £43 million
Cost per m2: £3,243
The impressive new Faculty of Arts building for the University of Warwick brings together the departments and schools of the faculty under a single roof for the first time.
It is evident that this simple mission became the driving principle behind the entire scheme, to create a vehicle for collaboration and cross-pollination of the arts, while drawing inspiration from the site’s unique parkland context. The architect has woven these two agendas into one cohesive design concept that has been executed with skill and craft.
The building itself is shaped by the surrounding trees that define the site’s parkland character. This is achieved through four pavilion buildings connected by a lightweight atrium and sculptural timber larch stair. The fragmented relationship between the individual pavilion buildings opens up axial views from the main atrium space onto the mature trees that surround the site. This connection with nature is reinforced by the atrium’s natural ventilation system and the terracotta cladding that references the earthy tones of the local geology.
Furthermore, the site’s parkland character is woven into the building’s fabric, fulfilling the client’s desire for a multidisciplinary space that encourages collaboration. The feature staircase, inspired by the structure of a tree, organically grows through the central atrium space, each branch helping to demarcate various communal spaces to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration. At the base of the stair, it splays like a tree’s root ball to form an amphitheatre that activates the ground floor and addresses the main entrance.
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.
See the rest of the RIBA West Midlands winners here. And all the RIBA Regional Awards here.
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RIBA Regional Awards 2023 sponsored by Gaggenau, EH Smith and Autodesk