Works starts on university’s arts centre

Work has started on the construction of Warwick Arts Centre at the University of Warwick.

The development will be a key venue in Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture 2021. The project – which is due to complete late 2020 – comprises an upgrade to the original building, a new build to house three cinemas, a large ground floor gallery to exhibit contemporary art, sculpture and photography, a spacious new-look foyer and a restaurant.

The development – designed by Bond Bryan and project managed by Turner & Townsend – is being completed on a live site environment with the theatres and concert hall remaining open to the public throughout the build.

Peter Owen, managing director at Willmott Dixon, said: “This project will ensure that the University of Warwick continues to be one of the region’s leading cultural centre, something that is not only very important for the University, but also for Coventry and Warwickshire. We are working to create a unique, modern and larger space in which the University can continue its creative, artistic and cultural programmes. The finished building will be accessible, environmentally sustainable and a hub for international standard digital art, exhibitions and performances.

He added: “This is a hugely important scheme for the University and we are really proud to be part of it. This project continues our relationship with the University following the completion of the Sports and Wellness Hub earlier this year and the Oculus Building in 2016, while our work on its Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building (IBRB) is progressing at a rapid rate.
“Over the duration of the build, Willmott Dixon has committed to investing in local social projects including work experience placements and school engagement to the monetary equivalent of £2.1m.”

Jon Rigby, associate director at Bond Bryan, said: “Warwick Arts Centre is a very successful and nationally important arts organisation. Whilst successful, it is currently limited by the scope and nature of its existing facilities. To exploit the increasingly important potential of digital media, new facilities are required to supplement the former outdated cinema.

“The vision is for an expanded Warwick Arts Centre offering a comprehensive digital screen-based programme with renewed and a an even more accessible art gallery, excellent modern customer facilities, and fully accessible foyers, to complement and support the current key venues for theatre and music.”

James Breckon, director of estates at the University of Warwick, said: “We are delighted that work has got underway on the site. Tens of thousands of people from across Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond value Warwick Arts Centre as a key part of their cultural and social life – we expect to see this increase dramatically during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021. Therefore, we must invest in the facility to ensure it remains at the forefront of the international cultural community.”


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