North East & Yorkshire

Durham University: The gateway to learning

The Durham University Gateway project is a £48 million scheme which was conceived to provide a new administration facility – the Palatine Centre – for Durham University.

The project was viewed as a major catalyst in the creation of world class facilities at the University and formed part of a much larger, £60 million scheme, which included the refurbishment of key associated buildings, including a World Heritage Site visitor centre.

It is important to note that the project has not been seen as an expansion of the existing University, instead it has focused on bringing together existing activities in a more coherent manner through improved provisions.

The Durham University Gateway project comprised the creation of a law school and a student services centre. In addition, the existing Bill Bryson Library benefitted from an extension which was constructed on land adjacent to the Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage site.

Discussing the importance of the Durham University Gateway project, Durham University Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Higgins, said:

“Along with our students, I and many other members of university staff are proud residents of the city, and we are committed to ensuring that Durham continues to be a great place to live, to visit and to study.

“After much consideration, we opted to develop this site and proposed a high quality and environmentally friendly development programme which continued our tradition of enhancing Durham’s built environment with interesting buildings of architectural merit.

“The plans we submitted underwent substantial changes in response to consultations and supported the University’s commitment to enhance the wider city environment to benefit scholars, residents and visitors alike.”

Work began on the Durham University Gateway project in June 2010 and reached completion in August 2012, on time and within budget. Phased occupation of the site then took place between August and September 2012.

Laing O’Rourke was the main contractor on the project, whilst Space Group provided all architectural services. Meanwhile, Cundall provided multidisciplinary services for the Durham University Gateway project, which involved the extension of the library and the construction of the Palatine Centre.

Working together Laing O’Rourke, Space Group and Cundall achieved great success with the project and have now been shortlisted at the Constructing Excellence North East Awards under the category of Integration and Collaborative Working. The project has been nominated for the category, alongside The Grange project, Hadrian Development Solutions Partnership project and Jarrow High Rise project.

In addition, the Durham University Gateway project has also been shortlisted for the Project of the Year Award, whilst Cundall has received a nomination in the Leadership and People Development category. The Leadership and People Development category recognises companies who define and demonstrate improvements resulting from targeted leadership development and training across the workforce.

Discussing Cundall’s nominations, which also includes Young Achiever of the Year for Gemma Stronach, Cundall HR Partner, Carole O’Neil, said:

“These awards demonstrate Cundall’s commitment to our staff and their development. Cundall encourages all of our staff to develop their knowledge and apply it on each project they are involved in.”

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