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CREWW building

We have a new, purpose-built facility for the Centre for Resilience Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) on our Streatham Campus.

CREWW was established through a partnership with South West Water (SWW) and was funded by a grant from Research England and investment from SWW.

The building was officially openedin March 2024 at a special ceremony, by Professor Lisa Roberts, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter, and Susan Davy, Chief Executive Officer of South West Water.

The new building is the first purpose-built, transdisciplinary research centre in the water sector, focusing on the most pressing challenges that impact upon the provision of safe and resilient water and waste services in the UK and overseas.

The building includes laboratory facilities and collaborative space, which researchers from multiple disciplines work with water industry colleagues to co-create engineering, nature, economic and behaviour-based solutions which deliver multiple benefits to the environment, society and the economy. This includes looking at how to manage natural resources to ensure there is sufficient water to cope with population growth, the pressures of climate change, and improving resilience to the potentially devastating effects of flood, drought and emerging pollutants.

The research is undertaken by academics from disciplines including: Geography, Biosciences, Engineering, Economics and Psychology, who work with partners in industry, government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to develop a shared understanding of the issues and solutions.

The location of the building is on Streatham Campus on North Park Road, opposite Laver and Harrison building and adjacent to the Amory building, in the heart of one of the most densely developed areas of the campus.

The building ws designed to step in to the slope to create a compact three storey structure, with a basement, and two upper floors. It was designed to take advantage of the views to the west and south of campus and beyond towards Exeter City.

The design concept for the building of a downhill ‘cascade’ of lightweight cladding from the upper to lower level, as the building steps down the sloping site, is intended to conceptualise the importance of water flowing over earth empathising with the central mission of CREWW. The strategically positioned circular windows reflect rising air bubbles emanating from cascading water traversing a parkland setting. 

The landscaping around the building is sympathetic to the existing informal parkland setting. Existing trees and hedges were retained where possible and new shrubs planted.

The project supports the university’s ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions and sustainability is one of the guiding principles that is seen as fundamental to the design of the building. The project has received an extra near £1 million funding boost from Research England to achieve ‘Net Zero in Operation’ status from day one of operation, and through the lifetime of the building. Through a combination of air source heat pumps, high thermal efficiency materials, solar panels and LED lighting, the goal of ‘Net Zero’ will be achieved.

The project will also drive new learning on sustainable research infrastructure, by using the CREWW building as a living laboratory where energy and water efficiency are monitored, analysed and optimised in real time through a Digital Twin. This will be used to also support regional, national and global partners to achieve their own Net Zero targets, through training, sharing reports and new research collaborations.

Plans for CREWW

Construction started on CREWW in January 2022 and completed in autumn 2023. The building was officially opened at a special ceremony in March 2024.


Contact us

John Vickery is the Project Director for the CREWW building.

If you have any queries or questions about the CREWW building project please email and we will get back to you.