Dunelm House, Durham Students' Union

Architects' Co-Partnership, Durham, 1966


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Exterior from the south west 

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  • Exterior from the south west    
  • Over kingsgate footbridge    
  • West elevation     
  • View of cathedral    
  • Internal stepped street    
  • Main hall    
  • Cafeteria    
  • Hall    
  • Main entrance river to left    
  • Typical external detail    
  • West elevation at night    
  • Location plan    
  • Site plan    
  • Levels 127.0 and 131.5. Central void is over main hall at level 118.5. Below at level 108.5 is the boathouse with access from river    
  • Level 140.5    
  • 151.0 level plan    
  • Level 160.5. Same level as the bridge    
  • Long section    
  • Cross section    
  • Croos section    
  • Aerial view before completion    

Stepped multi-level building located on the banks of the River Wear providing club premises for the students and university staffrooms

The building features heavy angled facades of concrete synonymous with the brutalist style of the time. The roof is covered with large interlocking precast concrete u-units that form a broken roofline above the eaves.

The mullions are positioned forward of the building face to all bar one of the external facades. On the riverside elevation the mullions are set back from the building face contained within the wall depth.

The main circulation space and staircase, that links all five levels of the building, runs in a straight line creating a stepped internal street from the entrance at the upper level to the main dance hall at the lower.

The feeling of the street is enhanced by the repetition of the concrete walls from the outside in. Varying staircase widths and a high ceiling admits clerestory light throughout the space.

The building connects to the Kingsgate Bridge opened two years earlier, also designed by Ove Arup.


  • Begun: Feb 1964
  • Completed: Mar 1966
  • Floor area: 3,979m2
  • Sector: Education
  • Total cost: £287,413
  • Tender date: Nov 1963
  • Address: Dunelm House, Durham, United Kingdom

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