The major redevelopment of Durham University’s Palatine Centre acts as a sustainable gateway to its 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.
From the outset, the Palatine Centre was designed to be as efficient and ecological as possible, incorporating green technologies and features including solar photovoltaics, natural ventilation, rain water recycling and automatic lighting.
BIM software was utilised throughout the design process. This technology was used to coordinate architectural, structural and building services design and improve performance. The models were merged on a regular basis to check for potential issues, including running clash detection analyses.
On the centre’s roof and around the external structure, cedar cladding has been employed to protect the building from the elements. The wood’s open cell composite construction provides excellent thermal and acoustic properties as well as boasting natural resistance to dampness and decay. Having been built to last, the cedar will age to a characteristic soft grey colour as part of the natural weathering process.
More than 15 per cent of the roof has been planted with flowering sedum. As this surface does not heat up in the same way that concrete or shingle roofs do, this has the dual effect of keeping the building’s temperature down in summer, as well as helping to cool the surrounding area.
Taken together, these measures have meant the building was able to receive a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating.
It has also been recognised with a number of industry awards, including the LABC Building Excellence Northern awards 2013 for Best Education Building and Constructing Excellence in the North East 2013 for Integration & Collaborative Working.