Plans submitted for a new academic building in Portsmouth’s city centre

Rendered exterior view of the proposed Victoria Park Building

A new learning facility for all with large flexible spaces for teaching, research and innovation.  

  • 27 August 2021
  • 5 min read

The University of Portsmouth has submitted a planning application to Portsmouth City Council for a new academic building on the site of the former Victoria Swimming Pool, adjacent to Victoria Park in Portsmouth’s city centre.  This stunning new academic building is designed for the future. With large flexible spaces for teaching, research, innovation and collaboration, it will be a new learning facility for all and home for the Faculty of Business and Law and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Set on the edge of Victoria Park, work spaces are focused around two triple height atriums with fantastic views of the city and sea. New facilities include a 500 seat lecture theatre, two 250 seat lecture theatres, a courtroom,  rooftop restaurant and terrace which will be open to the public.

We are working with world class architects selected following a RIBA International Design Competition, and have gathered feedback from students, staff and the public to put forward a building that sets a high standard of design and will be an asset both for the University and the city.

Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth

This progressive, sustainable building is ambitious to be net zero carbon ready and achieve a top rating of ‘Outstanding’ from BREEAM UK, the world’s leading sustainability assessment for buildings.  Designed to be environmentally responsible, it will be a smart energy building that will maximise natural light by enabling daylight deep into its heart. Photovoltaic panels cover the angled roof, producing renewable power and the high performing façade will manage heat and light.  The perimeter landscaping will be sown with wildflowers to develop biodiversity.

We have set out to ensure that the design and landscaping complement the sensitive parkland setting and also that it has high standards of environmental sustainability.

Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth said, “I am extremely excited to be submitting this fantastic new building for planning permission. We are working with world class architects selected following a RIBA International Design Competition, and have gathered feedback from students, staff and the public to put forward a building that sets a high standard of design and will be an asset both for the University and the city.

If we are granted planning approval, this will be a stunning landmark building designed for the future with flexible spaces for teaching, research and collaboration. We have set out to ensure that the design and landscaping complement the sensitive parkland setting and also that it has high standards of environmental sustainability.”

The design also proposes plans for improved connectivity into the park and the city. This includes opening up a railway tunnel to create a new public gateway from the Guildhall.  The ground floor opens up into the park with a welcoming space to gather for events.   The University of Portsmouth is committed to enhancing the local community through its services, estate, and staff and student collaboration.  This new building will be a major investment by the University to support this commitment. 

The planning application has been submitted after an extensive consultation programme discussing the design detail with staff, students and local stakeholders..  If planning consent is given in the Autumn, work can start in spring 2022 for a target completion in 2024. 

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