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Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick, Coventry

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

One concrete, one timber-framed section together give Warwick University a building that serves separate needs but aids collaboration to win a 2024 RIBA West Midlands Award

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse

2024 RIBA West Midlands Award

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick, Coventry
Hawkins\Brown with The Fairhurst Design Group for The University of Warwick
Contract value: £35.5m
GIA: 7091m2
Cost per m2: £5,006

This new 7,000m2 building on the University of Warwick’s campus houses two primary research functions with markedly different spatial, servicing and environmental requirements: wet labs, and write up, seminar and other research space. The architects have therefore designed the building as two sections, with labs and lecture space in an environmentally stable precast concrete frame, and non-technical and sociable spaces in a glulam and cross laminated timber frame. The two elements join seamlessly, echoing the ambition of bringing the uses together to foster collaboration and the breaking down of siloed working habits. The laboratories are not purely clinical but offer elements of delight, including the admittance of natural light and far-reaching views with seasonal change through carefully placed vertical windows. Sociable spaces have a softened feel, with a choice of environments to support learning diversity.

  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
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The jury felt that, through the considered design of even the technical spaces, the architecture elevates the learning and research environment, providing a reminder of the context and relevance of the work being carried out inside. The result is an inspiring place in which to research, focus and learn.

Off-site manufacturing was used to great benefit – there was an 80% reduction in deliveries to site, 30% reduction in site labour, and approximately 400 tonnes of CO2 saved. Impressively, the construction minimised disruption to the local residents and existing trees. The project team made an active choice to reduce the deliveries and disturbance. The success of these efforts makes it likely that off-site fabrication will be repeated for their other projects for the university.

  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
  • Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick.
    Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, University of Warwick. Credit: Jack Hobhouse
12345

Overall, the jury agreed that the building is exemplary as a learning and research environment that has been designed, detailed and delivered to an excellent standard. The brief called for a clear ambition: to bring together two disciplines. The architects used this pairing throughout the design to great effect. The strong analogy guiding the two elements of function has transformed the building into a piece of architecture, there to inspire and support future generations of students.

See the rest of the RIBA West Midlands winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com.

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Willmott Dixon
Structural engineer Stantec
Environmental/M&E engineer Hoare Lea
MEP engineer Hawkins\Brown
Quantity surveyor/ cost consultant Mace
Landscape architect BD Landscape
Project management Turner and Townsend
Planning consultant Turley

 

Credit: Hawkins\Brown
Credit: Hawkins\Brown
Credit: Hawkins\Brown
Credit: Hawkins\Brown

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