I visited the new Faculty of Arts building, and I have some thoughts

In one word? Flammable

You may have noticed a new addition to the University of Warwick campus recently. We’ve been graced with a new Faculty of Arts building, which is colloquially, and perhaps presumptuously, referred to as the “FAB.”

If you were wondering what your nine-grand-a-year goes towards, look no further. This eight-storey beast cost £57.5m, and boasts two state of the art lecture theatres, cinema and screening rooms, an antiquities room and a café. And it’s sustainably built.

Understandably, I was rather curious to check it out.

Why is Warwick so obsessed with red buildings?

The first thing that struck me was the colour. Warwick’s ever-expanding collection of red buildings takes the phrase “paint the town red” completely literally- either showing solidarity to communism or trying to put an avant garde spin on the idea of a “red brick” Russell Group uni.

On entering, I found myself stuck in the revolving doors. Perhaps this was a user error, but the shame of shuffling around perplexed and encased in glass did the building no favours in my books. Upon escaping, I was smacked in the face by the most futile structure imaginable: giant stairs. I harbour a particular resentment for these stairs as they bear an uncanny resemblance to a similar structure in my secondary school, home to the most physically uncomfortable assemblies of my life.

Despite the immediate animosity they evoked, I erred on the side of impartiality and ascended the (normal sized) stairs in pursuit of somewhere to sit and collect my thoughts. Failing to find any seats available, I ultimately retired to the detestable jumbo stairs.

Built without comfort in mind

My bum was numb within minutes. I predict the novelty of these will wear off in a couple of weeks and they’ll be rendered an abandoned no mans land.

It’s hard to deny how impressive this building is inside. The crossing staircases struck me as being reminiscent of a post-modern Harry Potter – I’ll let you decide if that’s a good or bad thing.

Low-key struggling to tell the difference here.

I also entered a lecture hall for the first time in my life to try and discern what it might be like to be a real university student in a pre-pandemic world. The soft microphone that can be passed around (or if you’re my friend, thrown across the lecture theatre) was a nice touch. I would enjoy utilising that, were any of my lectures in person. A girl can only dream.

The room that fascinated me the most, however, was on the ground floor, aptly titled the “welfare room”. I immediately assumed it was something of a panic room, however a windowless, vomit-green carpeted room seemed to me if anything panic inducing.

It was later pointed out to me it may be intended as a prayer room, and now I feel stupid for thinking it was for taking refuge when in emotional crisis, as many an Arts student has experienced. Either way, the sign on the door is highly misleading, and if I need a private cry when I’m in the FAB, I’ll be opting for the loo.

Utilising the welfare room, for its intended purpose.

As I traversed the different floors, I found nothing else that piqued my interest, except an outdoor balcony. To my dismay, and I’m sure to the dismay of many student Instagrams, I couldn’t get out onto it. It was time to leave.

Overall the FAB is an irrefutably impressive building, both in scale and design. My main qualm, however, is this expensive wooden castle could easily be destroyed by a student with a fondness for arson. If you’re planning on visiting, I’d advise you to leave your lighters at the door.

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