Restoring former glories
When New College Durham relocated from Neville’s Cross on the western fringe of the historic North East city to purpose-built facilities in Framwellgate Moor, two local Edwardian architectural landmarks, Sheraton House and Neville House, sadly fell into disrepair. Upset that the buildings had been allowed to decay, residents of new townhouses built close by were keen to see them restored and brought back into use. A successful proposal by Alumo Developments went a stage further, looking to transform the landmarks into purpose-built accommodation for 454 students.
“As well as carefully restoring Neville House and rebuilding Sheraton House, the development addressed a need identified by Durham University for ‘bespoke student accommodation’,” says Alumo managing director David Campbell. “We worked sensitively, creating an enhanced landscape-led development within an attractive environment for all the community to benefit from. The landscape concept recreated semi-wild parkland by capturing the romance of the countryside within the confines of the urban and suburban landscape.”
A highlight of the grounds is the sculpture park featuring bronze and marble works of art from Italy, China and America. Also featured is the Sheraton Park Poetry Wall, which is a ‘welcome’ poem in 10 languages presented on corian screens across the first floor façade.
The new facilities cater for post-graduates from Ustinov College, Durham. Accommodation available includes en-suite bedrooms, studios and accessible bedrooms. The development also features a main reception area, large communal common rooms, management facilities, cycle racks and a laundry.
Lying at the heart of Alumno’s design for Sheraton Park was the goal of creating a low environmental impact. The project focuses on reducing energy use and minimising carbon emissions using A/A+ rated building elements. A range of water saving measures have been implemented, facilities are encouraged to recycle, and the new development is aligned closely with Durham University’s green travel policies, which promote cycling, walking and the use of public transport.
Granted planning permission by Durham Council in July 2014, Alumno’s main contractor Kier completed the development on schedule by summer 2017 in time for the new academic year.