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University of Warwick, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors UK, WMG
BREEAM: Excellent
Peter Inglis
Buro Four, Rider Levett Bucknall, Arup, Turley, Buro Happold, Grant Associates

The National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) looks to the future: it encourages the discovery and development of new processes and products – including green technology – and showcases advances in British design and engineering.

National Automotive Innovation Centre

The National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) at the University of Warwick brings together academics, engineers and designers to develop the technologies and products of the future – much to the advantage of the UK automotive industry.

The building has been designed specifically to encourage collaboration, cohesion and cross-fertilisation of ideas. It is here that the latest technological advances, including reducing dependency on fossil fuels and reducing CO2 emissions, will be refined.

The NAIC connects leading manufacturers and academic teams and attracts the next generation of engineers and designers. It is helping to address the shortage of skilled R&D staff in the automotive supply chain, and also support the creation of apprenticeships in vehicle technology.

Although much of the research at the NAIC is confidential, its creativity is on show in a striking building in a beautiful landscape.

A look inside the NAIC


NAIC's ethos of collaboration - explained in 10 seconds

The National Automotive Innovation Centre is all about partnership. It brings together the University of Warwick, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors UK, and is funded by the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Working closely with all those involved was important in helping the client to form the strategic brief for the project. Consultation has been extensive: we held briefing sessions with each individual organisation, with all of them together, and with single and cross-disciplinary teams across the partnership.


The National Automotive Innovation Centre serves two purposes. It is first and foremost a place for researchers, engineers and designers to come together across disciplines to devise new technologies and products. It is also a showcase for advances in British design and engineering.

The building therefore has two distinct but overlapping parts: an inner sanctum and a shop window.

Each specific activity has the functional space that it needs – and those different activities are gathered around a space where collaboration can take place. Flexible research spaces over four storeys surround an equally flexible atrium space where people come together for demonstrations, meetings, breakout sessions or simply to socialise. Spaces are individually beautiful yet work collectively to encourage interaction.

Front of house accommodates the main reception and exhibition area with clear views into the Engineering Hall and café.

It is a clean and simple building. Its richness and quality come from its strong base, middle and top. The articulation of the façade strikes a balance between campus scale and human scale.

The building steps in and out to create a clear entrance and at roof level to form terraces. The roof is dramatic and gives a strong, consistent top line to the elevations. The edge projects above a continuous ribbon of windows, so the roof appears to float over the building: a metaphor of the NAIC as a unique coming together of academic disciplines and manufacturing companies under one roof.

An in-situ concrete frame allows a simple aesthetic, is robust, makes the building easily adaptable, and is an environmentally sound choice.

The materials – anodised aluminium, glass, glazed brickwork and engineered timber – are enduring and self-coloured. All project excellence in engineering.

Internally, the building is clean and white with glazed panels where appropriate. Splashes of colour and contrasting materials are introduced sparingly to highlight particular areas.


Environmental sustainability influenced the choice of materials and construction methods, including the in-situ concrete frame and Glulam roof structure, which is renewably sourced with low embodied energy.

The building uses the University of Warwick’s district heating network. A back-up heating system serves only the most temperature-critical rooms. The whole building is served by efficient mechanical ventilation systems and cooling is by a mix of ‘chilled beams’ and cool air through the mechanical vent systems. To reduce the energy load, the roof houses 1,900m2 of photovoltaic panels.

We have drawn nature into the project, supporting the University of Warwick’s Biodiversity Action Plan, by introducing local rare and endangered species. Integrated planting and habitats along circulation routes and gathering places is bringing people into closer contact with the natural environment.

Creative water systems add character to the NAIC’s setting – and provide an integrated storm water management system to respond to future climate change.