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  • Dunelm House
  • Architects Co-Partnership
  • Durham
  • 1966
Dunelm House
Architects Co-Partnership

What a site for a building! Durham Cathedral rides on its rocky promontory above the wooded gorge of the River Wear in a manner that is pure picturesque, as John Sell Cotman’s watercolours show us. How could a modern building match such a setting, now designated as a World Heritage Site? This was the challenge given to Architects Co-Partnership when offered the commission to create a central Students Union and Staff Club next to the Kingsgate footbridge, designed personally by Ove Arup as the catalyst for a University redevelopment of the riverbank known as New Elvet. The result, a building called Dunelm House, built of exposed concrete within and without, broken down into a cascade of roofs and terraces with panoramic windows for enjoying the view, was widely acclaimed on completion in 1966, but is unlisted and now the subject of a Certificate of Immunity from Listing decision by the DCMS, requested by the University itself.

Alan Powers