THE University of Portsmouth has opened the design process for a new flagship academic building to be opened in Victoria Park.
Speaking to The News in December, vice chancellor, Professor Graham Galbraith, revealed plans to transform the former Victoria Baths Site into a new £100m teaching centre for business, law and humanities.
Professor Galbraith said at the time: ‘The development will be very close to the railway bridge and so will have a vital role in setting the right tone for visitors to the city.’
The university has formally opened the bidding process for architects from around the world to submit designs.
A university statement said: ‘The university is ambitious for a new building that will inspire and excite students, staff and the wider community, serve as a northern gateway to the university’s city centre campus and become a symbol of pride for the people and city of Portsmouth.’
The bidding process will run as a formal competition, managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) with a panel selecting a short list of five designs next month. Those shortlisted will present their plans to the vice-chancellor and senior university staff who will make a decision on the final design.
Professor Galbraith said: ‘Holding an international design competition shows the university is serious about creating a world class facility for our students and staff, as well as a landmark building for the people of Portsmouth. We will accept nothing but the highest standards of achievement for our future developments.’
This is part of a £400m plan development over the next 10 years.
The announcement comes after work has started on phase one of the development - a £53m sports complex in Ravelin Park which is set to include an eight-court sports hall, eight-lane 25 metre swimming pool, fitness suite, multipurpose studios, squash courts, climbing wall and a ski simulator. The facility is expected to be complete and available for student, staff and community use by spring 2021. The building design also aims to set new standards for sustainability and to be one of the UK’s greenest sports facilities.
The developments come as welcome news to both the city council and Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan.
Mr Morgan said: ‘The announcement that there will be an international design competition for a new University of Portsmouth flagship teaching and learning building in Victoria Park is good news. The location of this new building means that it will be viewed by many who come to visit our great city and should become an integral part of the local community. The university, with its ambition to be a civically-minded institution, has a key role to play in ensuring good quality urban design in Portsmouth and creating buildings all residents can be proud of.’
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, added: ‘This competition will bring the world’s best architects to Portsmouth and shows the global reach of our city. The building will create jobs, raise the profile of the city.’