NEC Project of the Year 2017 finalist: University of Warwick – The Oculus

Value: £19m

NEC3 contracts/options used: NEC Option A

Start-finish dates: 2014-2016

Main project team members:
  • Employer: University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL
  • Project Manager: Pick Everard, Halford House, Charles Street, LE1 1HA
  • Architect: BGS Architects, 274 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7DY
  • Supervisor: Pick Everard, Halford House, Charles Street, LE1 1HA
  • Contractor: Willmott Dixon, Chantry House, High Street, Coleshill, Birmingham, B46 3BP
Project Scope:

The Oculus provides the University of Warwick with a new flagship teaching and learning building - the first on the campus to be dedicated purely to teaching and learning by offering a range of bookable spaces available to all academic departments.

This architecturally striking, state of the art building meets the client’s vision for an inspiring multi-faculty space which enhances the student experience, both academically and socially, through provision of the latest technology and visually appealing, multi-use shared spaces.

Providing high quality bookable facilities for nearly 1,400 students, The Oculus offers a 500 seat lecture theatre and 250 seat lecture theatre; 12 individual teaching spaces; social learning and networking areas; café and outdoor terraces; and state of the art audio-visual equipment costing £800,000 – all housed within a visually impressive building developed through close collaboration between the whole project team and University stakeholders.

Quality is emphasised throughout the building. Delivered at a construction cost of £2,990/m2 and total project value of £19m, The Oculus was completed within a tight 17 month construction period and within a fixed budget.

From start to finish, The Oculus project has been a showcase of innovative practice. It translated the University’s design aspirations into an iconic, landmark building which is instantly recognisable; it involved all stakeholders from briefing stage workshops through to construction site tours to achieve universal support; it harnesses the latest in audio-visual technology to enhance the student experience; and it adopted collaborative two-stage procurement with fair payment and risk sharing.

The University’s Executive Office Vice President, Lawrence Young, described The Oculus as a ‘real signature project, setting the scene for the next 50 years’.

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