Fort Albert


Island of Wight, United Kingdom    

Fort Albert

Year – 2012
International Competition
Client – Bellbrae InvestmentsLtd & Cleanslate

Location –  Freshwater, Island of Wight, United Kingdom              
Site Area / Area – 5.000 sq.m / 2.500 sq.m
Budget – 3.750.000,00£

Partners – Albuquerque Goinhas, Cristina de Mendonça, Nuno Griff

Project Team – Teresa Hagatong, Paula Vargas

Fort Albert was constructed in 1856 to defend Needles Passage, the western approach across the Solent to Portsmouth. Situated on an artificial island, the fort is one of a number of Royal Commission forts built under the direction of Lord Palmerston to protect Britain against the possibility of attack from the French forces of Napoleon III.As Fort Albert would have been susceptible to rifled gunfire, it was enhanced by the Royal Commission, who situated batteries on the cliffs overlooking it. Despite this modification, the introduction of armored ships led to the fort obsolescence by 1858. In a further modernization in 1886, the fort was chosen as a location for the Brennan torpedo. Throughout World War II, the fort was used as an anti-shipping observation tower and it was eventually closed to military use in 1957.

Fort Albert was converted into private apartments in the 1970s and 1980s, despite being listed as heritage (Grade II). The adjacent plot to Fort Albert is currently expectant, offering stunning views of the Solent and beyond that benefiting from the proximity to Freshwater, a large village at the western end of the Isle of Wight, containing a range of quaint shops and restaurants.

Emphasizing the coastline is the main proposal for this void, materializing the line that delimites Land from Sea in order to develop a commercially sustainable housing proposal in a unique and exciting residential scheme. The proposed residential block is positioned on the shoreline, presenting two purposely distinct façades. The Sea façade mimics the volume and materiality of its neighbour, Forte Albert, embrancing that extraordinary landscape without exposing its interiors. The Land façade develops under a system of balconies and terraces, optimizing the contact with the outside world and providing a huge diversity of occupations.

< go back