6000m² of collaborative, teaching and study space
Low and zero carbon engineering solutions
The new Mathematical Sciences Building, at the University of Warwick, was a response to a real and immediate constraint on the department’s ability to meet growth aspirations and compete with their international competitors. The vision for a new building was to support and encourages links between the host centres and departments as well as the community beyond.
Comprising of 6,000m², the principal objective of Mathematical Sciences was to deliver the space required to meet both current demands and the department’s ambitions. In addition to meeting these expansion plans, the new building provides self-study and hot-desking space, visitor’s space, teaching and meeting rooms. All spaces have been designed around a structural grid to maximize future flexibility. Every space is generously lit by natural daylight directly and indirectly through a combination of windows to the external envelope and central atrium. The linear wings are limited in depth to allow natural ventilation and daylight penetration into all spaces.
The opportunity to share space between three departments lead to further efficiencies, both at academic and support levels, whilst the flexible communal space provided by the new building further enhances the culture of collaboration between three departments.
The building is arranged as two blocks, separated by a primary circulation space in the form of a top and side lit ‘street’, located centrally between the two wings. This creates a strong horizontal axis towards the existing Zeeman building and a central axis is created to connect to the Computer Sciences Building. The two wings of the building adopt the language and grain of horizontal banding of the surrounding buildings to create a strong relationship to the site. As well as optimal airtightness and heavyweight construction, a number of low and zero carbon engineering solutions were specified for this project. These included; a mixed mode ventilation strategy, which reduces energy consumption whilst maintaining an ideal internal environment for building users. Slab cooling is provided to all occupied floors to pre-cool the structure during the summer months. Where mechanical ventilation was specified, we ensured it incorporated a high efficiency heat recovery system.
During the winter, solar protection is limited as solar gains provide effective pre-heating of the building. Reservoirs are located at the top of each atrium where heat accumulates, with this energy then being extracted from the reservoir and transferred to incoming fresh air via high efficiency heat exchangers. In summer months, intelligent shading, coupled with high performance glazing, reduces solar gains and prevents overheating, further improving the internal environment.
The central atrium serves as a collaborative space for informal interaction, opportunity for chance encounters afforded through routes and landings, which connect at various locations to the academic wings on either side. Visual connectivity along the levels means that the experience of seeing others encourages greater participation and the space can be a realm for social interaction.