University of Portsmouth Library

Portsmouth, UK

The Library extension scheme for the University of Portsmouth was won in competition in 2004 by Penoyre & Prasad.


The existing Frewen Library by ABK is set as a pavilion within the historic Ravelin Park. The new extension improves the entrance to the Library and creates a new public space at the junction of Burnaby and Cambridge roads.


This new urban square, with stripes of black and grey paving and Limestone ‘tablets’ contains an under-lit circular stone tree seat around a mature existing London Plane tree. The outward-looking square creates a sense of place and arrival at the new Limestone faced Library.


A new reading terrace, made from long slabs recycled from the existing Library, is set along the south elevation facing the park. Seats are recessed into the windows with timber benches opposite. The terrace is a place intended for quiet reflection and study. A line of Holly trees provide shade and intimacy.


An inner courtyard introduces light into the building and is filled with pale stone, bleached long grasses, grey foliage plants and cast stone benches.



  • SUDS – Surface water catchment zones (porous paving)
  • ‘Dry’ courtyard garden



Civic Trust Award – Commendation, 2008

RIBA Award, 2007

Portsmouth Society Best Building of the Year, 2007

The scheme received a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating


Client: University of Portsmouth

Architect: Penoyre & Prasad LLP

Coe Design