38-storey tower, Brunel House in Portsmouth gets submitted for planning


International design practice, Scott Brownrigg has submitted a detailed planning application for a new 38-storey tower - Brunel House in Portsmouth, on behalf of client, Bouygues UK.

The submission seeks to redevelop a redundant twelve-storey office building located at The Hard, Portsmouth, adjacent to the historic naval dockyard and Gunwharf Quays, into a mixed-use tower.

The landmark tower will comprise 512 bed student accommodation, split into clusters of eight bedrooms with shared kitchen and living/dining room facilities, these will wrap around the back of the tower from 1st floor level up to level 19; 329 residential apartments from level 1 up to level 38 with panoramic sea views and top floor penthouses; and one storey retail at ground floor level which will create a strong public realm.

Its elegant sweeping form will complement the skyline of Portsmouth, the adjacent Spinnaker Tower and Gunwharf Quays, and will provide a dramatic new vision for Portsmouth; the highpoint of the ‘prow’ will be a distinct new feature on The Hard. Angled to overlook the historic dockyard, it makes reference to maritime themes; the silhouettes of sails and the vertical forms of masts are referenced in the design. Contemporary oceanic allusions are also made, with the silver/grey cladding dispersing sunlight like the surface of the sea, and the sharp angled forms recalling contemporary yacht design.

The building touches the ground lightly with the six metre high ground floor allowing the elevations to ‘float’ above the surface of the ground plane. This interface between the building and the ground is predominantly transparent, and promotes a sense of openness and permeability. The building form also refers to the context of tall buildings, and evokes the forms of the Spinnaker and the Gunwharf Quays Towers without imitation of these local landmarks.

Its character and appearance is enhanced by its historic waterside location, which provides an exciting context, mixing historic and contemporary development.

The triangular site of approximately 3,090 sq m (0.763 acres) is bounded by The Hard/Ordnance Row to the south-west, College Street to the north and Victory Road to the east. The current redundant office building has an overriding visual impact on The Hard, dominating the view from arrival at Portsmouth Harbour Station, and along the pedestrian route to Gunwarf Quays.

Seeking to revitalise and enhance the local street scene, the proposed design careful considers the surrounding context, the wider city and its naval background, and aims to provide a catalyst for investment in and redevelopment of the surrounding area. This important regeneration will in the long-term help to transform The Hard into a high quality UK and European waterside destination, with opportunities for people to live, work and visit.