University of Portsmouth Library

Portsmouth, UK

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


Set within the historic Ravelin Park, the new extension and its re-orientated entrance, improves access to the existing Library and creates a new public space at the junction of Burnaby and Cambridge roads. This entrance square, with stripes of black and grey paving with Limestone ‘tablets’ contains a circular stone tree seat orientated around a mature existing London Plane tree. The setting creates a sense of theatre and arrival at the new Limestone faced Library extension.


A new reading terrace, made from long slabs recycled from the existing Library, is set along the black brick south elevation facing the park. The seats are recessed into the windows with timber benches set opposite, with a line of Holly trees for shade. With the library 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



  • Achieved a BREEAM ‘EXCELLENT’ rating
  • Civic Trust Awards Commendation 2008
  • Portsmouth Society Award 2007 Best New Building


Client: The University of Portsmouth

Architect: Penoyre & Prasad

Coe Design