University of Warwick

Coventry, UK750 seats

The Oculus is the University’s new, flagship teaching and learning building. In the centre of the building, beneath the stunning laminated timber roof, nest two stacked lecture theatres, both of which feature Audience Systems’ quietly elegant Scholar lecture theatre seating.

The larger, 500 seat lecture theatre is the largest on campus and features a steep rake of seating. Here, Audience Systems’ recently re-designed “Scholar” system creates a clean finish with no visible steelwork between the backrests. Architects Berman Guedes Stretton used a contemporary upholstery colour scheme to exploit this simplicity beautifully. As a result, the seating sits comfortably with the spectacular roof, rather than overpowering it with too much visual detail.

The clean lines also mask some practical features such as integral charging facilities for students, as well as recesses for integral LED lighting. The seat itself combines comfort with durability – the seat pivot carries a lifetime guarantee.

Ben Reaney, Design Manager at Willmott Dixon said: “We got Audience Systems involved quite early on to give us some cost advice through preconstruction and Katie Sullivan was very helpful throughout the whole process. Once the order was placed, Colin Stainer was our point of contact and he has been absolutely fantastic in resolving a number of issues for the project and was mindful of the budget constraints we were working to. In the end, he has engineered a bespoke solution for the scheme that has saved us in excess of £10k, he has also accommodated our protracted sign off of materials and turned designs/comments round in no time at all. I know that all of the team have been really impressed.”