Willmott Dixon to build art centre at University of Warwick

WCN Editorial Team 21 Nov 2019 EUROPE BUILDINGS

UK-based construction firm Willmott Dixon has been selected to build a fourth project, Warwick Arts Centre, at the University of Warwick.

Estimated to cost £33m ($42m), the Warwick Arts Centre will be completed by early 2021. Once completed, the art centre is expected to be a key venue in Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture 2021.

The present contract follows Willmott Dixon’s selection to build the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building (IBRB) in September.

The new building has been designed by Bond Bryan and the project will be managed by Turner & Townsend.

Warwick Arts Centre will also be a complete upgrade to the original building along with adding a new-build to house HD digital auditoria, a large ground floor gallery to exhibit contemporary art, sculpture and photography, plus a spacious new-look foyer.

Willmott Dixon stated that a very complex element of the new art centre is the erection of its steel frame, where 2,700 pieces of frame will be put in place over a 12-14 week period to form the gallery and three cinemas.

When completed, the project would have generate over 30 full-time and potentially 20 part-time jobs, while offering five apprenticeship roles. It will also support up to 35 small businesses by engaging commercial activities.

Willmott Dixon claims to have committed to invest in local social projects including work experience placements and school engagement to the equivalent of £2.1m ($2.72m).

Warwick Arts Centre extends Willmott Dixon’s presence on the transformation of the university’s campus, where the company delivered the Oculus Building in 2016 and more recently the Sports and Wellness Hub earlier this year, before being appointed for the IBRB scheme in September.

In a statement Willmott Dixon said: “By creating large and more modern space for the university to continue its creative, artistic and cultural programmes, this investment will also ensure the University of Warwick is home to the region’s leading cultural centre, something that is very important for Coventry as well as the university.

“One of the biggest challenges we will face is that the centre will remain open throughout the duration of the build, continuing to provide audiences with a full programme of events with shows taking place both inside the venue and in an onsite temporary theatre.”

University of Warwick, estates director James Breckon said: “We are very pleased that Arts Council England has shown its commitment to this venture and our ongoing partnership.

“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.”

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Image: Artist’s rendering of Warwick Arts Centre. Photo: Courtesy of Willmott Dixon.

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