'Striking' 13-storey University of Portsmouth building to be built on site of demolished swimming baths

TOWERING above the skyline this new striking glass university building is set to make an ‘iconic focal point’ for city visitors.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 5:10 pm
The new building as it will appear at night. Picture: FCBStudios

The 13-storey University of Portsmouth tower design was today announced as the institution’s first choice for its new academic building near Victoria Park in Portsmouth.

The 170ft building will boast public space on the ground floor, a top floor restaurant offering panoramic views and large lecture theatres.

Vice-chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith said the £100m tower, due to be built on the site of the demolished 1960s-era Victoria baths, will be finished in September 2023.

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The 'Market Hall' open space featured in the new design. Picture: FCBStudios

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Prof Galbraith said: ‘I’m extremely excited about this new building which will be clearly visible from both road and rail and will provide an iconic focal point for visitors arriving in Portsmouth.’

The final chosen design by FCB Studios beat other contenders in a competitive process judged by a selection panel.

Partner Keith Bradley said: ‘The building provides a real gateway into the city.

The new 13-storey building will have a 250-seat and a 500-seat lecture theatre. Picture: FCBStudios

‘The sculptured shape and circular windows creates a really distinctive structure and at 13 storeys high it has been designed to be visible from a distance but to blend in with the local environment when viewed up close.

‘The building will be clad in a veil of white which, when lit up at night, will create a striking beacon on the landscape.'

Built next to Victoria Park, off Anglesea Road, the tower will give a publicly-accessible route to the park and be home to the faculties of business and humanities.

It will include an open plan market hall-style foyer, a 500-seat lecture theatre, two smaller 250-capacity lecture halls and ocular windows giving a view of the city.

How the new building will look from above. Picture: FCBStudios

The selection panel chose the futuristic design, which they believe will create a ‘strong visual identity for the university and striking addition to the skyline’.

Prof Galbraith, said: ’We had a large number of high quality submissions and the panel felt FCB Studios 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.’

A central atrium will offer communal space, with adjoining naturally-lit rooms. It will have solar panels on the roof and ground source heat pumps to boost energy efficiency.

The design was selected from a strong shortlist which also included proposals for a rooftop garden and night illumination.

Planning permission now needs to be sought and a construction firm appointed.

The plans are part of the university’s £400 million estate masterplan, including a new indoor sports facility in Ravelin Park.

Plans were previously drawn up for a blade-style building after the baths were demolished by Portsmouth City Council in May 2010.