University library is a real stunner, say award judges

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Portsmouth's university library has won a top award for being the best-designed new building.

The eco-friendly building, in Cambridge Road, beat stiff competition to win the first Solent Design Awards.

The inaugural awards scheme tracked down buildings or spaces which have been well-designed and also add value to the community.

One of the city's most eye-catching buildings, Admiralty Quarter, in Queen Street, Portsea, was highly-commended at the award ceremony in Winchester.

University staff received their accolade from famous designer Wayne Hemingway

The first prize was shared with Wellstead Primary School, in Eastleigh, after being voted for by a judging panel.

But Portsmouth certainly won the hearts and minds of the people after winning the People's Choice award, winning the online vote by more than 700 people.

Roisin Gwyer, the university librarian, said: 'I am extremely excited that we won it.

'It was really nice to be recognised by the people as well as the experts.

'I think it's a very visible building in the city and it's nice to be able to walk or drive past it at night and see all the students working away.'

The library was extended to meet the demands of growing student numbers.

The new building has a bigger computer area, with 250 desktop computers, group study rooms, teaching rooms with the latest training and presentation facilities, and a cafe.

It even includes replicated fortifications from Napoleonic times.

Sponsored by the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (Push), the awards were organised by The Solent Centre for Architecture and Design.

Paul Grover, centre chief executive, said: 'The Solent awards show what can be achieved when all the partners in the design process come together with the intention of creating great places

'We were really impressed.'