Topping Out ceremony at University of Winchester West Downs Building

2 November 2018

The University of Winchester celebrated a key milestone in the construction of its new West Downs learning and teaching building this week with a traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony. The topping out marks the contractor Osborne reaching the highest point in the landmark development.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Joy Carter CBE laid a final section of concrete on the top floor of the building alongside Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL, Chancellor of the University and John Craig, Osborne’s Managing Director of Construction. John Craig presented Professor Carter and Alan Titchmarsh with an engraved trowel to commemorate the event and the ceremony ended with the cutting of a celebration cake in the shape of the new building.

When completed, the development will provide an outstanding environment for our students and be a landmark in the city. The state-of-the-art facilities, including specialist labs for our digital and computer-related degree courses, will inspire future generations of digital pioneers who will study here and help to shape our future.

Professor Joy Carter, University of Winchester Vice-Chancellor

Construction started in January 2018, with the building set to complete in October 2019. It will feature an art gallery, 250-seat auditorium, cafe and food hall, contemplation space, teaching rooms and library. On completion, it is set to be one of the greenest buildings in Winchester, featuring rainwater recycling, solar photo voltaic panels, a combined heat and power system, smart building management and ecological features; it is set to receive a BREEAM Excellent rating and is part-funded by a £30m loan from Triodos Bank, Europe’s leading sustainable bank- a first for a UK university.

Even though we have lived with the concept design of this new building for many years it is always a delight and sometimes a little nerve wracking to see it finally rising from the ground. In this case it is especially heart-stopping as its impact on our home city is particularly acute but one we feel increasingly excited about, particularly the positive impact to Romsey Rd and the huge public contribution it will make to the city of Winchester and the views from the top floor are truly jaw-dropping!

Richard Jobson, Design Engine Founding Director
Professor Joy Carter and Alan Titchmarsh
The University of Winchester and Design Engine project team