Palatine Centre, Durham University

Location Durham, UK
Services Building services, civil, structural, fire and geotechnical engineering, sustainable design, BREEAM assessment, lighting design and transportation
Sector Education 
Client Durham University
Architect _space and PH Partnership 
Imagery © Kristen McCluskie


This major redevelopment of Durham University is a new flagship sustainable building providing a gateway to the University’s Stockton Road Campus. It provides the University with a state-of-the-art student services facility, new accommodation to the Law School, a catering facility, and a 2,500m2 extension to the Main Library Building.

BIM software was utilised by Cundall’s structural team to improve collaboration and integration with _space. This technology was used throughout the design process to ensure coordinated architectural, structural and building services designs. The models were merged on a regular basis to check for coordination issues, including running clash detection analyses.

The use of traditional pad foundations generated a saving to the client. This was achieved by our geotechnical team who undertook further ground investigation work and determined that the recommendation of the original site investigation report for piled foundations was not necessary.

The building was designed to meet the university’s sustainable aspirations and incorporates the following sustainable features:

  • Air source heat pump heating and cooling
  • Solar hot water heating
  • Photovoltaics
  • Rain water recycling
  • Sedum roof
  • Displacement  ventilation to minimise requirement for cooling
  • Maximisation of natural daylight
  • Automatic lighting control to minimise energy usage

Extensive thermal modeling was undertaken to ensure comfortable conditions could be achieved with minimal reliance on mechanical cooling.

It received a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating.

A Transport Statement and travel plan was produced, as well as further advice regarding the suitability of various access routes of sustainable means of travel.

We based the fire strategy for the building on the recommendations detailed in BS 9999, which allows risk-based design solutions to be used to address the particular needs of the building’s occupants. This approach provides an extremely cost-effective way in meeting the stringent fire safety requirements of the client, as well as demonstrating compliance with relevant statutory requirements.

  • LABC Building Excellence Northern Awards 2013, Best Education Building - Winner
  • Constructing Excellence in the North East 2013, Integration & Collaborative Working - Winner
  • Constructing Excellence in the North East 2013, Project of the Year - Highly recommended

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Bill Bryson Library, Durham University

The redevelopment of the university’s main library was part of the major redevelopment of Durham University’s Stockton Road Campus. The project involved the demolition of the existing library’s east wing, to allow for the new extension, and partial refurbishment of the existing library. 

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Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

The relocation of diverse elements of Central St Martins College of Art and Design (CSM) into a new central campus on the 61 acre Kings Cross goods yard redevelopment was a major undertaking for the college and university.

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Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

The Earth and Environment School was designed to meet the departments need for world class teaching and research. The project involved the complete refurbishment of the existing building and the addition of a four-storey wing which was designed to minimise carbon and waste.

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Our people sit at the very heart of what we do at Cundall. Our mission is to provide great opportunities for great people, create fantastic built environments and leave a positive legacy for our communities.

It is the knowledge and expertise of our people which helps us to do this; our commitment to recruiting and nurturing great talent is what has made us successful for the last 40 years and it remains critical to our future plans.

At Cundall, we place special importance on our early careers professionals (graduates, apprentices, interns and more), understanding that they are the future of our business and the key to our long-term, sustainable growth. 

Learn more about we do and how you can build your career at Cundall

Cundall's expertise extends to all major markets, so we have a deep understanding of the specific issues, constraints and opportunities facing our clients' market sectors.

Our team of creative engineers draw on our accumulated knowledge to devise the best possible solutions for your project in a fully integrated and cost-effective way.

About us

Established in the UK 40 years ago, Cundall has developed into an international multi-disciplinary consultancy operating from over 20 locations across the globe.