AKS Ward London
Head Office
One West Smithfield

020 7236 0161
020 7236 3239

Gary Allen / Managing Director
Matt Walker / Operations Director
Stephen Gibbs / Operations Director

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AKS Ward Hitchin
Lister Beare
Manor Court, 26 Bancroft
Hitchin, Hertfordshire

01462 420 668
01462 438 630

Gary Allen / Managing Director
Colin Seabrook / Operations Director

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AKS Ward Southampton
116 High Street
The French Quarter
SO14 2AA

02380 235 340
02380 634 294

David Perkins / Director
John Dunford / Operations Director

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AKS Ward Oxford
Seacourt Tower
West Way

01865 240 071
01865 248 006

Craig Gamble / Director
Charles Soothill / Director
Graham Taylor / Operations Director
Paul Morgan / Operations Director

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AKS Ward Birmingham
33a Vittoria Street
B1 3ND

01212 274 386

Craig Gamble / Director
Paul Morgan / Operations Director
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The Somerstown Community Hub, Portsmouth


This unique Project started with a divided community and a run down residential area in Portsmouth. The district was divided, literally, in the ‘cold war era’ of the fifties and sixties, when a main road was cut right through the area, to form an emergency route to and from the Naval Base, for which Portsmouth is rightly famous.

The structure forms a ‘building bridge’ over the road

The vision was to re-unite the community with a building of outstanding quality, that would literally be built on a new bridge over the main road.


AKS Ward were appointed as Structural Engineers by the client, The Portsmouth City Council, and then novated to Contractor BAM, who took on the project on a ‘Design and Build’ basis.

The Hub will house a variety of community facilities including offices, new Doctors surgeries, a community centre and sports facilities, and it will reconnect the two communities as a result of the pedestrian thoroughfare created by the bridge building

We used BIM technology to create the Building Model, which engages a multitude of design and construction techniques, to resolve the structural challenges that this sort of building poses. Working over and around a ‘live’ main road does have its challenges!

The timber work was designed and fabricated in Switzerland, and incorporates hidden assembly joints, to give an elegant interior

The ground breaking, and truly unique superstructure was created using curved Glu-laminated timber frames, oval in form, and just like a massive model aeroplane fuselage.

The outer ‘shell’ of the building has its own multilevel interior floors, constructed using a combination of post tensioned concrete, for flat slab efficiency, and other areas formed with steel framed composite construction - to suit plant rooms and the like

The multitude of structural forms has created a unique and cost effective structure, that will bring back the ‘heart’ to this once divided community.

Client The City of Portsmouth | Architect Re Format / BAM Design
Contractor BAM | Structural Engineer AKS Ward Construction | Value £12m