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Partitioning by Fermacell lines a new university building.
There’s no greater accolade for a building products manufacturer than being specified by architects for architects, and that is exactly what specialist partitioning board supplier Fermacell achieved at the University of Portsmouth.
Some (amount tbc) of Fermacell’s square/tapered-edge gypsum fibreboard lines the five-storey Eldon Building designed by Penoyre & Prasad architects as a new 4,600m2 home for the university’s school of architecture previously housed in the award-winning Portland Building.
The £9million building comprises large lecture theatre, seminar room, café and shop over the ground and first floors, and open-plan offices for academic and administrative staff and a post-graduate centre on the upper floors via floor plans which are easily divided and flexible.
It forms a narrow footprint of a heart of what has become the university’s own mini-campus for the Faculty of Creative & Cultural Industries, itself comprising a 1960s arts school, deep-plan 1980s array of workshops and studios, and courtyard.
Penoyre & Prasad’s masterplan for the site analysed the most space-efficient occupation of the existing buildings for the consolidation of the six departments, set out a phased refurbishment programme, and addressed proposals for future expansion.
Its predecessor Portland Building was designed by Professor Sir Colin Stansfield Smith and Hampshire County Council who established a user-friendly, low-key and light-filled design language for the county’s schools, and its airy, timbered spaces are reflected in the Eldon Building in elements such as timber-slatted soffits and the atrium. The latter links all floors vertically, helping to maximise natural light and ventilation to make Eldon West an exemplar sustainable building.
Built by D&B contractor Morgan Sindall to £1,903m2, Eldon West is fitting tribute to an educational establishment founded in 1930 which nevertheless had enough foresight to establish a Project Office, an architectural consultancy, to promote consultancy and live projects which proactively engage the school and students in city and regional initiatives.
Fitting then that the highly-recyclable Fermacell boards should play their part in a new era for the university’s architectural students.