Penoyre & Prasad completes new architecture school building for University of Portsmouth

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Concrete piers support the aluminium-clad blocks of this new architecture school building at the University of Portsmouth, England, designed by Penoyre & Prasad around a landscaped courtyard (+ slideshow).

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

The Eldon West building was designed by London-based Penoyre & Prasad to accommodate the four schools of the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.

It provide a new home for the School of Architecture and Interior Design, flanking a new courtyard at the heart of the institution's city-centre campus.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

The facility was built as part of a masterplan to improve connectivity between various campus buildings.

It replaces a smaller building on the western edge of the courtyard. In addition to the architecture school, it contains an exhibition space, a cafe and a range of studios and meeting rooms.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

"Eldon West is a linking and completing building, a portal to the courtyard and faculty that surrounds it," the architects explained.



The building steps up from three storeys at the south to five at the north to maximise light into the courtyard and its presence on the corner with Winston Churchill Avenue."

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

Intended as a showcase for the faculty, the building features a large ground-level window on its street-facing elevation, offering views through to an exhibition space and the courtyard beyond.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

Glazed teaching spaces jut out above the entrance, continuing the line created by the curtain wall of an adjoining remodelled building.

Above them, an overhanging brick facade references the heritage of the area.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

Windows incorporated into this west-facing elevation feature deep reveals, designed to prevent unwanted solar gain.

Meanwhile, openings in the northeast corner are surrounded by angled aluminium frames that reflect indirect light into the building.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

The elevations lining the courtyard feature a more irregular plan than the linear street-facing facade, with a block containing the cafeteria and lecture theatre projecting outwards to promote its connection with the outdoor areas.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

Aluminium panels clad the upper levels, reflecting light back into the public space and offering a blank surface that can be used for visual projections. The roofs of the upper layers shift and fold back to form a series of terraces.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

A glazed five-storey atrium is located in a corner facing the courtyard. It contains a staircase leading up to the 200-seat lecture theatre, screening room and seminar rooms on the first floor.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

Open-plan studios for the architecture students are situated on the upper storeys, flanked by large circulation and learning spaces that encourage interaction between students from different departments.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad

Penoyre & Prasad's other educational projects include a zinc-clad studio building for a college in south London. It also updated the tower of Guy's Hospital in London by adding origami-like anodised aluminium cladding.

Photography is by Tim Crocker.

University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad
Sectional diagram – click for larger image
University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad
First floor plan – click for larger image
University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad
Second floor plan – click for larger image
University of Portsmouth by Penoyre and Prasad
Section – click for larger image
  • Roberto Sideris

    Another generic-looking university faculty building, sadly one for the design department to boot.

  • Steve

    As a former student at the old, purpose built School of Architecture building by Sir Colin, I can only be utterly disappointed in this new gimmicky “high-profile” relocation and extension building.

    Despite comments about its plans and elevations, having walked through and spent a lot of time in both, this building failed to learn from the (few) failures of its iconic predecessor as a School of Architecture building and turns out to be a clumsy addition to the annexed estate – hardly something a “school of architecture” should be promoting, despite the high-profile architectural designer name.

    This is such a shame because the Penoyre & Prasad extension to the University Library was so successful in linking existing, established buildings, yet this building seems to have missed the fact it is part of both the wider campus and cityscape.

    The poor finishes inside (painted metal staircase), painted (not exposed) poor-quality concrete ceiling and soffits go to show this building lacks the integrity it’s name deserves.