Our project for Durham Council transforms a derelict site on the Durham peninsula, a historic area of the city surrounded on three sides by the River Wear.
Our project acted as a catalyst for the regeneration of this area and was the starting point for the council’s Lottery-funded Durham Millennium City Project. It is a good example of Lottery-assisted urban regeneration as it provides much needed community facilities on a brownfield site.
Our urban design concept was for a new civic terrace riding the ridge that leads up to the UNESCO World Heritage Site containing Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral. This elevated terrace has views over the Wear valley and links to the riverside walk around the wooded site. Our new Clayport Library and council offices re-complete the existing building frontages, severed by the 1960’s road cutting.
The spectacular and contemporary treatment of the Claypath site forms a dramatic and complementary foil to the historic fabric of the old city, symbolising its cultural regeneration.
At the heart of our new development is the new Gala theatre, cinema and conference complex which sits in pride of place, visible from the main vehicle approaches into the city. The building’s have become Durham’s new principal cultural venue. To meet the city’s business plan and its community brief, the building has air palletted seating allowing the auditorium to switch quickly between theatre, cabaret, exhibition and banquet modes. The building is also fully equipped to broadcasting standards.
The rooftop function rooms and foyer bars have spectacular views over the Wear valley. The 150 seat IMAX-style cinema is buried beneath Millennium Place, taking advantage of the dramatic change in level across the site. The cinema shows widescreen tourist oriented films for the tourist information centre by day and commercial films in the evening.
Our development also provides a new pedestrian route between the new riverside hotel and car parks on the opposite bank of the River Wear and the peninsula. Once the adjoining commercial development is complete, Millennium Place will link to the river walk and footbridge to complete the vision for the area.
- Durham City Council
- Best Public Library Award, 2003
- Civic Trust Award, 2002
- County Durham Environment Award, 2001
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