Ravelin Sports Centre

Ravelin Sports Centre sets a new benchmark for ultra-low energy sports facilities in the UK. Designed for the University of Portsmouth, the centre provides facilities for both the campus and the wider city, in an open and transparent building.

The centre combines a 25m eight-lane swimming pool, a sports hall, a fitness suite, multifunctional studios, climbing and bouldering facilities, flexible squash courts and a ski simulator, alongside teaching facilities and office space.

The design is fossil fuel-free, rated BREEAM Outstanding and has demonstrated an operational energy consumption of less than 100 kWh/m2/yr – around one tenth of a typical sports centre.

University sports facility

Portsmouth, England



University of Portsmouth

August 2019 - September 2022

October 2022

This is a truly exceptional sports centre with first-class, high-quality facilities... It’s tremendously exciting that our students, staff and community can enjoy one of the best sports facilities in the UK.

Paul Tilley,
Director of Sport and Recreation, University of Portsmouth

Optimising Performance

To meet ambitious targets for energy use, the building combines a compact form and efficient external envelope with extensive natural lighting and ventilation, including to the sports hall and swimming pool. The centre is heated by air source heat pumps and heat recovery, and a bio-solar roof generates 224MWhs of renewable energy per year, reducing demand from the grid by over 20%.

As a result, Ravelin Sports Centre’s ultra-low operational energy consumption of less than 100 kWh/m2/yr was achieved without compromising sport environments or user experience. As the first project to be completed in the university’s masterplan, the centre has set the standard for future campus projects, in terms of both architectural quality and their ambition to become carbon neutral.

Ravelin Sports Centre University Of Portsmouth Energy Performance Infographics
Ravelin Sports Centre University Of Portsmouth Environmental Section L
Ravelin Sports Centre University Of Portsmouth Heat Recovery Fan In Gym L
Ravelin Sports Centre University Of Portsmouth Corner Facade Views Looking Into Gym Sp

Making Sport Visible

The facilities at Ravelin Sports Centre are visible and welcoming. At ground level, the building is open and animated by uninterrupted glazing, providing views into the active spaces. From within, the glazing blends the boundary between inside and outside, to create uplifting and naturally lit settings for exercise.

At the entrance, there are no barriers or turnstiles – instead, people are encouraged to wander through the building and discover different activities. Each key sports space is accompanied by ‘fringe’ spaces – areas overlooking the facilities, where people can dwell, socialise or study to help break down barriers to participation.

We wanted Ravelin Sports Centre to feel welcoming to people who might not typically use gyms or sports facilities, using a transparent ground level and plenty of opportunities to see the facilities in action.

Irina Korneychuk,
Senior Associate


  • BREEAM Awards
    Public Projects - Design Stage Award