Wharton Park – Centered on excellence
The outstanding design and construction of a new heritage centre at Wharton Park – a historic Victorian Park in Durham – has won the project a place on the RICS Awards 2017 shortlist in both the Tourism and Leisure and Community Benefit categories.
Close to the city centre and offering views over the city, Wharton Park originally opened in 1858. It has been the site of many public, political and celebratory events over the years, including the first Durham Miner’s Gala.
The construction of the new heritage centre was part of a £3 million HLF funded restoration of the park. Designed by Mosedale Gillatt Architects, the building provides much needed facilities including education, cafe and office spaces.
Main contractors for the project were Esh Construction.
Situated on top of a hill to make the most of the views across the park and city, the contemporary design heritage centre is located next to the park’s car park and is easily accessible to all users.
The centre provides new toilet and baby change facilities, a café with indoor and outdoor seating, an education space for visiting groups, a park manager’s office, information about the park and its heritage, and new play areas between the building and the car park. The building has underfloor heating run via an air source heat pump.
The centre was constructed using piled foundations, a steel frame, a Kalzip roof, and aluminium curtain walling with random stone external walls.
Stephen Hawley, of Durham Council who was the project manager for the scheme to build the centre said:
“The centre has a footprint of around 230 sq m and is entered via a glazed automatic sliding door leading into a small hallway. To one side are the toilets and to the other side is a display providing information about the park, with the cafe located further on to the left and a resource room and staff offices to the left. The cafe has seating for around 40 people, with further seating outside.
“Because the building is within a conservation area, our planning department insisted on its careful positioning and the use of high specification materials, so for the exterior we have used predominantly natural stone, together with curtain walling.
“The building has been well designed to meet the needs of the park and the people who use it. It has been a very good project to work on.”