December 2019

FCBStudios win competition for the University of Portsmouth's new academic building on the Victoria Site

A multi-disciplinary design team led by FCBStudios has been selected as the winner of the RIBA Competition for the University of Portsmouth’s new academic building on the Victoria Site.

The 13-storey building will serve as a northern gateway to the University’s city-centre campus and will bring together the Faculty of Business and Law with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

As well as providing accommodation for academic research and teaching and learning, the new building will also provide student support services, general administrative space and public space on the ground floor.

Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, said: “We had a large number of high-quality submissions and the panel felt that the practice’s 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.

“The design is an outstanding example of a sustainable and environmentally responsible building for the University. By bringing the two faculties together within one building, it will enable us to become a centre for collaboration, creativity, innovation and above all inspiration and interaction.”

FCBStudios were selected by an evaluation panel which consisted of members of the University Executive Board - including the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. The panel considered the design proposals developed by FCBStudios to offer a comprehensive response to the multi-faceted brief, in which the new academic building would be rooted within Victoria Park, with a physically and visually permeable ground floor establishing a new, publicly accessible route between the city and the park. 

Panel members admired the aesthetic sensibility of the scheme and the strong sculptural form and diaphanous veil to the new academic building, which they felt would create a strong visual identity for the University and striking addition to the Portsmouth skyline.  Large ocular windows to the principal elevations defining triple-height spaces that would be at the heart of each faculty, with the careful articulation of a central atrium stair, departmental landings and bridging of floors providing both visible connections and opportunities for interaction. 

Andy Theobald, Partner, FCBStudios said “We are delighted to have won the RIBA competition for the University of Portsmouth for the new Victoria Park Academic building. Located centrally in the city, the building links the southern and northern campus together with a new landmark building for the University which also forms a new gateway into the city. Considered as a singular and sculptural piece, the building is located alongside the railway in Victoria Park creating a new civic frontage to the University.

Our proposals aim to deliver new academic neighbourhoods combined with inspirational teaching and learning that will enable innovative working, collaboration and creativity across the two faculties. Flexible enough to serve and evolve with the University, we have echoed the brief’s ambitions to establish a careful balance of environmental, economic and social sustainability. We are looking forward to working with the University to refine and deliver this project."

The new building is part of the University’s ambitious £400 million Estate Masterplan to be delivered over the next 10 years, including a new indoor Sports Facility in Ravelin Park.