View all news

School of Mathematics moves into the restored Fry Building

4 September 2019

Staff and postgraduates have moved into the Fry Building, the new home for Mathematics, ahead of the start of term.

The building has undergone a major remodelling and renovation to provide world-class facilities for mathematics teaching, research and collaboration.

Situated in the heart of the Clifton campus, the Fry Building's historic and ornate architecture has been preserved, while public art in the form of a Voronoi pattern acts as a brise soleil on the new glass facade overlooking Wills Memorial Building. A 140-seat lecture theatre and rooms for undergraduate study are also included.

Outside, the design of the paving layout draws on the work of the Nobel Prize-winning Bristol-born mathematician Paul Dirac (1902 - 1984). Dirac notation is also present as a pattern on the internal glazing throughout the building.

The building is named for the prominent Fry family who donated land and funds to the University.

Professor Noah Linden, Lead Academic for the project, said: “The Fry Building is an outstanding home for mathematics in the heart of the University's precinct, and we are very excited to have moved into it. We have facilities for research and teaching befitting a world-leading mathematics department.”

The original section of the Fry Building was constructed in 1880, commissioned by the University College of Bristol. 

The Grade II Listed building was the vision of architect Charles Francis Hansom, whose older brother invented the Hansom cab. Made of Pennant sandstone with limestone dressings and a slate roof, the architecturally ornate building reflects a Tudor Gothic revival style. Separate wings were added over the next 24 years and it became the first building completed for the newly established University, which received its royal charter in 1909. 

In that same year Sir George Herbert Oatley FRIBA was appointed to design a new department for Chemistry and Physiology, further extending the Fry Building to the southwest. Sir George went on to design many iconic University buildings, including Wills Memorial Building and the HH Wills Physics Laboratory.  He thoroughly researched the type of building he was designing and incorporated into the Fry Building the most up-to-date construction technologies and fittings for laboratories available at the time.

The Fry Building has now undergone a further transformation to provide state of the art facilities for mathematics today.

Further information

Find out more about the Fry Building, including more photographs, or take a virtual tour.

Edit this page