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FCBS triumphs in contest for £33m Warwick arts faculty

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Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has been selected ahead of Foster + Partners and Grimshaw in a competition for a £33 million faculty of arts at Warwick University

The Bath-headquartered studio was unanimously chosen from a shortlist which also included WilkinsonEyre and Swedish firm White Arkitekter to win the RIBA-organised contest.

The Faculty of Arts Development will bring together eight University of Warwick humanities departments currently spread across two separate buildings.

The two-stage competition invited ‘innovative and insightful teams with exceptional creative skills’ to draw up proposals for the new landmark building.

FCBS partner Andy Theobald said: ‘Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are delighted to have been selected to lead the design team for this exciting new Faculty of Arts building at The University of Warwick. This will be a very significant new building for the campus and one that will embody the cultural values of both the University and the faculty.

‘We are very much looking forward to an exciting collaboration with the faculty to develop our competition-winning proposals and together create a building for interaction, learning and research right across the humanities.’

The university, founded in 1965, occupies a 290ha campus on the edge of Coventry, with smaller satellite outposts in London and nearby Wellesbourne. Its suburban campus is around 30 minutes by train from Birmingham and one hour from London, and hosts most of the university’s 24,000 students.

The new building will replace an existing car park on the campus near to the MJP Architects-designed main library and students union, and an additional students union building by Casson Conder Partnership. Other key nearby structures include the Warwick Arts Centre – completed by Renton, Howard, Wood Associates in 1974, and Berman Guedes Stretton’s £10.4 million teaching block.

BMJ Architects also completed a £4.2 million Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology (CMBC) at Warwick Medical School nearby four years ago.

The judging panel included RIBA adviser Cindy Walters of Walters & Cohen alongside leading departmental academics and members of the university’s senior leadership team.

Walters said: ‘An exceptionally high standard of work at all stages of the process defined this RIBA competition for a new Faculty of Arts building at Warwick. The breadth and thoughtfulness of each submission was admired and appreciated by the jury.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios shone in an extremely strong field

‘This has been a hard-fought win for Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, who shone in an extremely strong field. The jury’s decision was unanimous and I look forward to seeing an exceptional building in years to come that will help the university continue to achieve its aim of ongoing academic excellence.’

Arts faculty chair Simon Gilson commented: ‘The competition has been immensely valuable in generating a wealth of ideas for a building that will serve students, staff and the public over the coming decades.

‘The successful architects will be helping us move into the exciting next phase of the development as we look to create a building that is open, inviting and flexible, allows collaboration, creativity and innovation to flourish, and acts as a hub both for public engagement in the humanities and for nurturing cultural value.’

The winning team will now work with the university over the coming months to further develop the scheme.

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