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RIBA shortlists heavyweights in Portsmouth university contest

Portsmouth image by asillylittleman
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Some of the nation’s leading higher education architects have been shortlisted in a contest to design a £60 million landmark building at the University of Portsmouth

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Nicholas Hare Architects, Hawkins\Brown and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have all been named finalists in the RIBA-organised competition.

The five teams will now take part in a negotiation phase during which they will outline their approach in a series of design workshops with the University of Portsmouth’s project team.

The winning multidisciplinary team will deliver a new 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.

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.

First-round judges included Fiona Bell, director of estates and campus at the University of Portsmouth, and Cindy Walters, director of Walters & Cohen Architects, who will be acting as the RIBA’s architect adviser.

Bell said: ’I am delighted with the high quality of submissions that we received at the first stage of the competition, which match our ambition to create a flagship building for our university and landmark for our city.

‘We were fortunate to have interest from many firms from around the world and, through a robust selection process, we identified the top five submissions. I am looking forward to the next phase to see how the short-listed firms respond to the University’s many and varied design challenges.’

The shortlisted teams will present final tenders featuring their developed design concepts at a clarification interview in late October 2019. A £20,000 honorarium will be awarded to all finalists submitting tenders. 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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