Ben Ainslie Racing HQ

Fabric Cladding, ETFE & Retractable Solar Blind Installation

Over the past 12 months, a new landmark has arrived on the Portsmouth shoreline – Land Rover BAR’s headquarters, a building which will play host to a team that is making a bid to win sailing’s top prize. Developing a yacht and crew good enough to enter and win the America’s Cup requires a multi-million-pound investment.

“Home of Ben Ainslie Racing Built to BREEAM excellent standards, a purpose-built facility housing all of the team’s activities from design to sailing, sports science to marketing – a showcase for sport, innovation, technology and sustainability in the heart of Portsmouth.”

The Team

Hamish Calder - Ben Ainsley Racing

Matthew Williams - Architect, HGP Architects

Vivienne Conway - Architect, HGP Architects

Kevin Hemmings - Architect, Base Structures

Fraser Shirley - Project Manager, Base Structures


The Brief

Using modern methods of construction – and with technologies incorporated into the design to seek carbon neutral credentials – Ben Ainslie Racing sought to commission a home that brings together the three key functions of boat design and team training; boat building, a visitor and education centre. HGP Architects who designed the Spinnaker Tower, were commissioned to design and deliver a unique and functional building on the Camber site in Portsmouth.

Base Structures was asked initially by HGP Architects to provide a semi-transparent fabric cladding wrap to stretch around a robust structure of a combination of glass reinforced concrete and glazing with the fabric having the capacity to be externally back lit.

As designs developed, Base were also commissioned to provide a triple skin ETFE cushion insulated atrium roof system to provide a high level of light through into the central core of the building, together with an internal retractable blind system to handle solar gain and glare.

The Solution

Ferrari Soltis 86 fabric mesh was specified for the external vertical cladding to allow a degree of transparency both sides, with the roof panels using a sold PVC Mehler 7211 fabric to allow for drainage. The ETFE triple layer system provided by Vector Foiltec, achieves a U value of 1.96 W/m2k with a light transmittance of 87%.

Vital Statistics

  • Supported by £6.5 million of government funding
  • 6875 m2 footprint
  • 2790 m2 Vertical Curved Fabric Cladding
  • 625 m2 Fabric Roof Panels
  • 500 m2 Fabric Keder Pockets
  • 161 m2 ETFE Triple Layer ETFE cushion system
  • 70 m2 Internal Fabric Retractable Blind

Project Summary

Ben Ainslie Racing
HGP Architects
T A Colbourne
PVC Mesh
Retractable Fabric Roofs
Fabric Facades
ETFE Systems
Project Management
Project Management