Port picks up prize for best new city building

SWISH The new port building
SWISH The new port building
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PORTSMOUTH International Port’s new passenger terminal has been hailed as the best new building in the city.

Judges from the Portsmouth Society said the modern structure, which opened last year as the centrepiece of a £16.5m revamp, was a welcome addition to the city’s landscape.

The society campaigns to promote and preserve the best of Portsmouth’s historic environment and champion well-designed new buildings.

The port’s terminal, which was designed by Joel Kempsey-Fagg of D5 Architects, Birmingham, won praise from the judges at its annual design competition.

President of Portsmouth Society Celia Clark said: ‘It’s a lovely building. It feels like a light, airy airport – and the clarity of signs and routes needed to process 400,000 people to and from their ferries and cruise ships each year make their transit enjoyable. The sculptural anti-terrorism protection of giant anchors and concrete chain links enhance the perimeter and the judges were impressed by the innovative use of seawater for cooling and heating via a heat exchanger.’

Judges inspected more than 20 buildings and sites in their quest to name the city’s best buildings, restorations and landscaping.

Judges, entrants and Portsmouth Society members will discuss the entries and winners at the society’s meeting on Wednesday, November 7, at 7pm in the St George’s Centre, St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth.


The central reservation of Mile End Road, Portsmouth, won the society’s Best Landscaping prize.

The area was given a facelift as part of the work to build a new road into Trafalgar Gate at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The judges said: ‘It evokes the local beach. The grasses sway in the wind like waves. Sea species such as thrift, thistle and holly, sedum and creeping rosemary are edged in elegant zigzags by local sea shingle, incomparably enhancing the approach to the M275.’

The design was by Vincent Mount of Portsmouth City Council. Artist Mark Lewis, of The Art and Soul Traders, was praised for his murals of warships in the walls at the Trafalgar Gate entrance.


The Stacey Centre community orchard in Walsall Road, Baffins, was commended in the landscaping category.

The judges called it ‘an exemplar of how to enhance the many pockets of dull mown grass all over the city.’

They added: ‘Encouraged and designed by Tracey Jones, volunteers meet regularly to plant and tend the lovely trees, shrubs and plants, and enjoy the vine-planted arbours.’


The new Yellow Kite cafe inside Southsea Castle was commended in the best resuse category.

The judges said: ‘The pleasant café in the casemates inside Southsea Castle is within a challenging heritage environment, where much restoration of the castle still remains to be done.’

The design by Gamble Parker of Yellow Kite and the contractor was Habens.


The Old Iron Foundry in Portsmouth Naval Base was commended for its restoration.

The project was designed by Robert Benn Associates of Gunwharf.

The new entrance hall and ground-floor offices are the last phase of a restoration and conversion to offices for BAE Systems, which first commended by the society in 2005.

The judges said: ‘The carefully restored vaulted redbrick ceilings and walls, grey painted original water pumps and crane gantries are complemented by the new slate floor and impressive boardroom table.’


The new Highbury Children’s Centre in Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham, was highly commended by the judges.

The building, designed by Alastair Lewis Portsmouth City Architects and built by Habens of Rodney Road Portsmouth, was singled out for praise.

The judges said: ‘With its carefully-detailed light-filled community hall and Surestart Centre, it once again demonstrates the excellence in design we have come to expect from the city’s architects.’


A MODERN development of flats in Fratton was highly commended.

The judges said: ‘The articulated facade, clever planning and private outdoor space makes living in Alliance House Apartments in St Mary’s Road, Fratton, enjoyable and sociable.’

The scheme was designed by Mike Ford of HM Architects and built by W Stirland, of Birdham, West Sussex, for Radian housing association.


The Best Restoration Award was awarded to for the ‘elegant restoration’ of 5 Grove Road South, Southsea.

The building has been transformed from its former use as a solicitor’s office to a home by Mark Lemon and Kemi Adenubi.

The judges said: ‘In place of the redbrick office rear extension is a lovely new orangery, paved garden, greenhouse and dining arbour. Peter Clutterbuck’s distinctive new railings enhance both front and back.’


Portsmouth City Council’s creation of the new Southsea Library in the closed Woolworths store on Palmerston Road was singled out for a new award.

The society introduced the Best Re-use Award due to the trend of converting existing buildings rather than building from scratch. The judges said: ‘Amid brightly coloured furniture, the sinuous interior design by Robert Benn Associates creates spaces for new activities.’ Project co-ordination was by Portsmouth City Council’s architect Marcelle Newbold.

The building was adapted and fitted out by Brymor.