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Trevelyan College Gymnasium

PH Partnership designed the award-winning and BREEAM Excellent Palatine Centre for Durham University to serve as their Administrative Headquarter building including Executive, Student Services, Law School and associated Teaching and Social Spaces. It also includes a 2 Storey café and Restaurant with state-of-the-art kitchen servery facilities.

The building was developed as a highly site-specific solution and concept, with careful consideration to surrounding environmental factors.  Accommodation is distributed around a central, spinal atrium which acts as an internal “street” providing natural light and views to and from all areas, while creating a primary circulation route which delivers users to social spaces and landscaped courtyards at each end of the building.

The design maximises usage of the site and flexibility of internal accommodation.  The design is bold and distinctive while form and shape are broken and punctuated to reduce scale, maximise natural daylight, and emphasise views and context.

The building was developed with a holistic design approach to sustainability and renewable technologies.  The building incorporates natural ventilation, air source heat pumps/heat recovery, water attenuation, solar thermal collectors, rainwater harvesting, sedum roofing and photovoltaics which achieved an ‘excellent’ rating on the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

PH Partnership won the commission after a successful design submission against international competition which also included proposals to extend and refurbish the adjoining Library Building.

The project was 5 years in the making, during which time PH Partnership liaised closely with all University representatives.  This included all individual departments and user groups, in progressing the project toward successful implementation and completion.

PH Partnership were intrinsic in a successful presentation to CABE, liaison with a variety of planning and conservation groups, including full public consultation, presentation and public meetings which resulted in a successful Planning Approval.

PH Partnership also developed the detailed interior design of the building, liaising closely with individual departments to fulfil all requirements while offering a holistic design solution and bespoke design solutions such as reception desks, coffee stations and seating throughout the building.

3d Design development of the whole project (in context) allowed maximisation of aspect across Durham City and guaranteed stunning views of the Cathedral and Castle beyond.  Sympathetic use of natural materials wraps the simple frame in an organic yet bold form, offering a unique, sustainable design solution which compliments the prominent site, while softening scale.  

The project was also part of the University’s Green Travel Plan and site wide improvement scheme promoting cycling facilities, pedestrianisation and car reduction thus offering substantial contribution to carbon reduction by the University.


Durham University