UTC Portsmouth

  • Location

    Portsmouth

  • Client

    BAM Construction

  • Value

    £10m

  • Completion

    2017

  • Size

    6,000m2

Practical design for a practical curriculum

The guiding principle behind this new UTC for the Solent region was to create a building that provides a high quality, energy-efficient learning environment, more akin to a workplace than a traditional school. This institution will act as a launch pad for young people seeking a career in engineering, providing a specialised curriculum and close ties with local businesses. Specialising in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the syllabus is shaped by local employers and the industry.

Our design incorporates facilities that provide training in traditional engineering subjects, as well as advanced manufacturing methods and rapid prototyping. Sharing its site with the existing Trafalgar School, the two institutions will combine to create an education campus with shared facilities and a shared entrance. The new building has a bold design, and is sited on the main road into Portsmouth, making a strong statement and advertising the subjects taught within.

The layout and design of the building is driven by the curriculum, which requires extensive specialist workshop and laboratory facilities in addition to standard classrooms. These varied spaces are mixed together and arranged around a light and airy triple height atrium space, which serves as a learning hub. An integrated dining, social, learning and working area connects all three levels of the building together, and forms the heart of the UTC. A two store activity hall and lecture theatre are also provided.

The building has a clean, industrial aesthetic, which continues the theme and ethos of the UTC and its branding, with bright colours, crisp edges and functional elements. This is done using a simple palette of distinctive materials, which reference the neighbouring Trafalgar School, the local industrial context, and UTC’s specialism.

The two contrasting materials are a light coloured masonry on the lower part of the building, and a seamed metal material with a brightly coloured finish on the upper part. When combined, the materials produce a strong, resilient base to contrast with the striking top section.