Work begins on £53m 'super sustainable' University of Portsmouth sports centre
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Work begins on £53m 'super sustainable' University of Portsmouth sports centre

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Construction work has begun on a £53m sports facility at the University of Portsmouth.

A groundbreaking ceremony has been held to signal the start of work on the centre, which will include a 25m, eight-lane swimming pool, an eight-court sports hall, a health club with a 175-station gym and multifunctional studios, climbing and bouldering facilities, two flexible squash courts and a ski simulator.

Designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects, the building will set new standards for sustainability for a sports building and is on target to be the first of this type in the UK to be BREEAM rated ‘Outstanding’.

The building’s spaces provide opportunities to exploit natural light and ventilation, while top lighting of the sports hall and pool hall have been designed with energy reduction in mind. There is also a range of photovoltaic panels and a biodiverse green roof, adding to the feel of a "green building".

“Having worked closely with the university and planners, this will set a significant benchmark for future buildings in the university masterplan and generally across the city," said Michael Hall, partner at FaulknerBrowns Architects.

Irina Korneychuk, project leader at FaulknerBrowns, added: “The development is not only looking to promote the integration of the university campus with its surroundings, but to deliver wider benefits to the students and local communities.

"This project has been informed and inspired by the best sustainability practices beyond the BREEAM requirements, and will create an environment which promotes health and wellbeing by inspiring people to be more active, throughout the University of Portsmouth and the city as a whole.”

The complex is the first phase of the university’s £400m estate masterplan, designed to reshape the city-centre campus and strengthen connections with the rest of the city.

According to the university, the proposed plans will "significantly enhance the non-academic life of students", promoting health and wellbeing through the provision of a wide range of opportunities for activity and movement.

Construction work is being undertaken by Wates and is set to be completed in early 2021. The FaulknerBrown-led design team also includes Max Fordham, Mott MacDonald and LDA Design.

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