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

Keith Anderson

T +44 (0)191 213 1515

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