AKSWard London
Head Office
10 Bonhill Street
020 7236 0161
Gary Allen / Managing Director
Matt Walker / Head of Building Surveying
Stephen Gibbs / Operations Director
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7 Bancroft
Hitchin, Hertfordshire
01462 420 668
Gary Allen / Managing Director
Colin Seabrook / Head of Conservation
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AKSWard Southampton
116 High Street
The French Quarter
SO14 2AA
02380 235 340
David Perkins / Director
John Dunford / Regional Director
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Registered Office
Seacourt Tower
West Way
01865 240 071
Craig Gamble / Director
Paul Morgan / Operations Director
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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