First appointed to work with University of Warwick working alongside the Arts Centre senior team to deliver a feasibility study we were then retained to mastermind a major new expansion and redevelopment of Warwick Arts Centre part of the Warwick 20:20 capital project. We worked alongside the team to develop well considered plans and designs for the future of Warwick Arts Centre which was awarded £4.2m in Nationally Lottery funding from Arts Council England.
Warwick Arts Centre is a vibrant and significant cultural resource, not just for the Warwick campus, but for the whole city and region. It is greatly valued by students, staff and the whole local community, and it has rightly earned a national reputation. The successful funding award guaranteed the redeveloped cultural and creative centre for the region in which to continue their distinctive, creative, artistic and cultural programme.
The redevelopment has created a larger space in which to continue the organisation’s programme, phase 1 which is now complete includes the full refurbishment of the 550 seat theatre and the studio theatre, a new look and feel in the foyer and back of house areas. Phase 2 of the Warwick 20:20 Project has now commenced, with the demolition of the existing Cinema and Mead Gallery and the creation of a new building to house three new digital auditoria, a large ground floor gallery. The new building will also provide a spacious new-look foyer designed to showcase the very best in contemporary art and entertainment and café bar, offering a welcoming environment for everyone.
The Arts Centre has been built up over a period of 40 years, with incremental phases adding new facilities to the existing collection of buildings centred around a foyer space which was compromised by numerous split-levels and unclear route finding. However, the Centre remains a much-loved facility both for the students and staff of the University as well as local people. During the daytime the Centre acts as a central meeting place for students and staff, and a place for informal study. During the evening it transforms into a major regional arts centre attracting audiences from across the West Midlands.
Ellis Williams worked in depth with the Arts Centre and end users to develop a bespoke and truly unique design based on a lengthy process of research and options development. The design proposals were based on a detailed understanding of the requirements of a number of groups of end users all of whom share and use the Arts Centre building, with multiple and often overlapping needs.
The design process included engagement with multiple stakeholders including students, faculty management teams, central timetabling services and the University’s design quality group, whose focus is producing the best possible architecture across the campus.
The new building is fully accessible, environmentally sustainable and a creative hub for international class digital art, exhibitions and performances.