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Oculus Building at the University of Warwick

University of Warwick’s flagship central teaching facility

Our team of education specialists created a pioneering teaching and learning building in the centre of campus at the University of Warwick.

The Oculus is the University of Warwick's first dedicated teaching space with bookable facilities available to all faculties. The development was borne out of research by the University’s Institution of Advanced Learning, which found the teaching and learning experience could be enhanced by having multi-faculty buildings to share knowledge and encourage socialising between students from a range of academic subjects.

Designed for student cohesion and know knowledge sharing

The two storey building provides new facilities for over 1,000 students; transforming a field into a state of the art building that achieves the university's vision for multi-faculty space that enhances the student experience, both academically and socially.

Huge theatre

Students now benefit from a 500 seat lecture theatre, largest at the university, along with another 250 seat theatre. Oculus also provide 12 teaching spaces, social learning and networking areas, a café and outdoor terraces.

The Oculus Building ‘living building’ reflects the green surroundings. It achieves its natural feel through the use of materials such as terracotta and sandstone cladding and terrazzo tiles. Its also has abundant use of glulam timber to the roof – making it instantly recognisable and improving sustainability by reducing embodied carbon.

Due to the team's unique approach, the building achieved BREEAM Excellent and EPC A ratings.

High tech

Procured via Scape Group's National Major Works framework, we made sure technology has been harnessed to the full. Each lecture theatre is equipped with projector rooms, sound booths and high definition screens, along with portable lecterns, cameras, speakers and even screens available for use by lecturers as a teleprompter or a live feed.

Additionally, all furniture, even sofas, are equipped with three-pin plugs and USB ports with Wi-Fi available throughout!

Peter Owen, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the Midlands:

"Oculus Building is pioneering in its sustainability and technological credentials – we hope it sets a benchmark for educational facilities in the future!”

On the use of technology, Johnathan Owen, from the University’s IT department:

“I really like the glulam ceiling and the use of glass throughout the building, which helps highlight the green space we have on campus. From a technical point of view, I’m really excited about the use of edge blended projection in the large lecture theatres, which allows lecturers to easily configure a huge digital canvas, to display a multitude of content.”

Long-term prospects

Since opening, the Oculus has been popular. Students use the facilities for study or breakout and visit the café both before and after lectures, ensuring a steady flow of people until 10 pm when the building closes.

The building itself was designed to have a minimum 30-year lifespan and to be as low maintenance as possible, through the use of durable components and materials, and a need for limited servicing requirements through the use of natural ventilation. A separate basement plant room provides easy access for servicing to avoid any disruption over the lifetime of the building.


  • First stage in redevelopment of central part of the university’s campus
  • Responds to the University’s requirement for large flexible space
  • Houses University’s largest lecture theatre (750 seats)
  • Transformed muddy field into architecturally striking building
  • Designed with a curvature reflective of an amphitheatre



Birmingham (Snowhill - Construction)

One Snowhill, Snow Hill Queensway, Birmingham

B4 6GN

Tel: 0121 236 9668