Original features

August 13, 2009

Built around a chestnut tree, the University of Warwick's celebrated Mathematics Research Centre Houses have been described as a modern Stonehenge.

The five houses and two flats were conceived in 1967, two years after the university received its Royal Charter.

They were built after Sir Christopher Zeeman, Warwick's founding professor of mathematics, applied to the Nuffield Foundation for a grant.

He then collaborated closely with architect Bill Howell to ensure that the structures met the needs of visiting mathematicians, although one of the residences was later used by Clark Brundin, vice-chancellor of the institution in the 1980s and 1990s.

Each house has an open living area and a study with its own toilet and washbasin so that mathematicians can work undisturbed. Blackboards snake around the curved internal walls to maximise space for calculations.

The Maths Houses are located in the Gibbet Hill section of Warwick's campus, formerly home to its maths department but now used for medicine and biological sciences.

Officially opened in June 1969, the structures won the Royal Institute of British Architects' Architecture Award in 1970 and were recently granted Grade II* listed status by English Heritage.

Send suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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