Rooftop garden and a 'destination' restaurant among shortlisted designs for £100m university building in Portsmouth

Design D in the shortlist of proposals for the University of Portsmouth Victoria Park site.
Design D in the shortlist of proposals for the University of Portsmouth Victoria Park site.
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The shortlist of five designs for a £100m academic building have been unveiled by the University of Portsmouth. 

The university plans to complete the new facility in Victoria Park by September 2023.

The site, which will include the university’s first 500 seat lecture hall, will become the main teaching and office space for the Faculty of Business and Law and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Among the five designs are proposals for a 15-storey high rooftop garden and a top-floor restaurant with panoramic views of the city. 

Another design would see the top of the building glow at night ‘like a lighthouse.’ 

A key criteria of the design brief was to create a space that encouraged members of the public to visit, according to Fiona Bell, Director of Estates and Campus Services. 

She said: ‘We want this to be a building that everyone can use, even if they are not students or staff members.’

Viewing the designs on display in the university’s library in Cambridge Road, biochemistry student Pinelopi Almpantaki said a rooftop garden would be popular with students  – but she was unsure how they would receive members of the public using university buildings.

She said: ‘It might make socialising a bit difficult.’

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Josiah Amabogha, an engineering geology student, said: ‘Design C is my favourite because they intend to use a green rooftop, and it uses a lot of sustainable features, like renewable energy.’ 

Environmentally-friendly features are another important design expectation, with the university hoping for the building to achieve an outstanding BREEAM UK certification, an internationally recognised sustainability assessment. 

Ms Bell said: ‘We want all buildings in our masterplan to be receive BREEAM recognition, and we want the building to be adaptable so it can change as teach practises change over the next 60 years.’ 

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The new building will be the most expensive part of the university’s £400m masterplan.

Included in the plan is a £53m sports building with an eight lane swimming pool and ski simulator in Ravelin Park, which began construction in June. 

The final design for the Victoria Park site will be chosen by a panel of senior staff at the university, which will announce its decision before the end of the year.