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Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios wins Portsmouth university contest

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Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) has defeated some of the nation’s leading architects in a contest to design a £60 million landmark building at the University of Portsmouth

The AJ100 practice was chosen ahead of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Nicholas Hare Architects, Hawkins\Brown and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to win the RIBA-organised competition.

It will deliver a 20,000m² combined departmental complex featuring new premises for the university’s Faculty of Business and Law and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences along with a public ‘destination dining experience’ and administrative facilities.

The New Academic Building project, planned to complete in 2023, will create a gateway structure on a large undeveloped plot (pictured below) on Anglesea Road next to Portsmouth’s Grade II-listed Victoria Park, which is part of a local conservation area.

FCBS partner Andy Theobald said: ‘The building links the southern and northern campus together with a new landmark building for the university which also forms a new eastern gateway into the city … It is located alongside the railway in Victoria Park creating a new civic frontage to the university.

‘Our proposals aim to deliver new academic neighbourhoods combined with inspirational teaching and learning that will enable innovative working, collaboration and creativity across the two faculties … we have echoed the brief’s ambitions to establish a careful balance of environmental, economic and social sustainability. We are looking forward to working with the university to refine and deliver this project.’

The university’s vice-chancellor Graham Galbraith said: ‘We had a large number of high-quality submissions and the panel felt that [FCBS]’s extensive experience in the higher education sector was very evident. The panel agreed that the building would create a strong identity for the university and a statement for the city.

‘The design is an outstanding example of a sustainable and environmentally responsible building. By bringing the two faculties together within one building, it will enable us to become a centre for collaboration, creativity, innovation and above all inspiration and interaction.’

Portsmouth university was founded in 1908, expanded rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century and now has 25,000 students and 2,500 staff. Its annual income is around £200 million.

In 2017, Architecture PLB drew up a £400 million masterplan to transform the university over the following 15-20 years. The New Academic Building is a key part of the masterplan and aims to create a new gateway to the city centre campus from the north.

Architecture PLB won planning permission for a 33-storey student accommodation tower on the plot – previously home to a Victorian baths – in 2011 but the scheme was shelved the following year.

The new building – expected to be BREEAM Outstanding – will feature an auditorium, two lecture theatres, several classrooms, 50 tutorial rooms, two IT labs, and a 500-capacity restaurant.

Judges included Fiona Bell, director of estates and campus at the University of Portsmouth, and Cindy Walters, director of Walters & Cohen Architects, who was the RIBA’s architect adviser.

About £7 million has been set aside for professional fees on the project.

Portsmouth image by lewis clarke

Portsmouth image by lewis clarke

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