Portsmouth Horsea Island
Portsmouth, UK
Project 2008

A stadium on the water, football in the park, an icon for the city
Portsmouth’s historical asset has traditionally been its connection with the water, and more recently football has become the other great asset of the city. Horsea Island will allow the football stadium to become a visual icon at the gateway to the city, creating a new identity for both Portsmouth and Pompey. It is perfectly situated on the water next to the confluence of the main access roads, allowing a dramatic first view of the stadium with the city behind.

Since the 15th century Portsmouth has been the main navel port of England. The Navy is still an integral part of the city, and so it is fitting that they have been pivotal in enabling Horsea Island to be developed and provide the city with a new stadium. They currently own and occupy the land surrounding the former torpedo range on the island and have offered to release the northern and western edges for the stadium and enabling development in return for a new Navy dive school. This would involve a phased approach to allow the diving operations to continue during construction of the new facility on the southern edge of the range.

While the majority of the island is a former landfill site, which limits development, it is however an opportunity to create a new public urban park on the water, a green centre to a variety of new developments including the stadium that will activate Horsea Island and ‘stitch’ the quality of the park with its immediate surroundings. The site is recognised as being rich in biodiversity, and of particular interest are the Brent Geese that currently use the site to nest and rest. To foster and encourage this use two green corridors are provided connecting the new urban park with the water.

The stadium will be a pavilion in the new urban park, the new pitch a clearing in the trees. Slender tree-like structure is used to support floating program pavilions surrounding the bowl with veil like transparency with a simple drape of structure supporting a lightweight roof. The space underneath the bowl functions like a grand foyer, still exterior, but sheltered from the elements. During the game the focus is on the match. Before, after and during half time the focus is outwards towards the park, water and unobstructed views of the city.

Located at the edge of the city and close to both local and national motorway connections, Horsea Island offers unique opportunities to generate quality urban development in addition to the stadium to include residential, retail, a multi-purpose arena, as well as the new urban park.

Located between the former Torpedo Range Water body and the new Horsea Urban Park, each residential unit has the opportunity to be connected to both the water and the park. The overall length of development is punctuated with public amenities, and the depth and height of the built unit is limited to ensure both interior and exterior spaces can always be naturally lit.

A sustainable energy approach for the whole island will take advantage of the different program elements to work together and ensure a low carbon emission scheme.

ARUP are a key partner providing invaluable insight and support into structural, environmental, infrastructure, maritime, microclimatic and sustainability aspects of the project. Vogt landscape architects provide specialist insight into species, arrangement and concept to ensure the new urban park, the residential development and especially the stadium are all seamlessly integrated as a whole landscape element.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2008


Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Harry Gugger
Project Architect: Jayne Barlow (Associate), Thomas de Vries
Project Team: Abel Blancas, Soohyun Chang, Claudia da Silva, Joris Jakob Fach, Seung Teak Lee, Kenan Liu, Tobias Winkelmann


Sellar Property Group, London, United Kingdom; Portsmouth City Football Club, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

Design Leader: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Structural Engineering: ARUP, London, United Kingdom;
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon, London, United Kingdom;
Landscape Design; Vogt Landschaftarchitekten AG, Zurich, Switzerland

Specialist / Consulting:
Infrastructure & Civil Engineering ARUP, London, United Kingdom
Traffic Planning: WSP, United Kingdom
Sustainability, Maritime and Flooding, Daylight Analysis Consultants: ARUP, London, United Kingdom
Planning Consultant: Cushman & Wakefield
Architectural Historian: Ettwein Bridges
Environmental Consultants: URS Consultants

Building Data:
Site Area: 1,056,000sqm
Optional: Stadium 36,000 seats, Residential 80,000sqm / 861,120sqft, Public 45,000sqm / 484,379sqft, Navy 10,000sqm / 107,640sqft


New Stadium for Portsmouth Football Club by Herzog & de Meuron.
In: Nobuyuki Yoshida (Ed.). Architecture and Urbanism. Vol. No. 455, Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 08.2008. p. 7.
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