projectWorld Heritage Site Visitors Centre

locationDurham, UK


Number 7 Owengate in Durham, a Grade II Listed property, is a former almshouse dating from the early 19th century. Now owned by Durham University, the property is located at the gateway to the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it the ideal property to convert into a much needed visitor’s centre.

Desco won the appointment to design the MEP services for the redevelopment project, through the Durham University Professional Services Framework Agreement.

The aim of the project was to develop it into the new World Heritage Site Visitor Centre designed specifically to attract visitors and provide a stimulating environment for information and learning; the team’s brief for the redevelopment was to provide a robust, low maintenance, sustainable design solution; the scheme involved refurbishment of the existing listed building and addition of a single storey new build extension. Positioned on the road leading up to Palace Green, the new centre provides a focal point for visitors to Durham city, offering information about the World Heritage Site and its attractions; in addition to static and interactive displays permanently on show, the centre hosts temporary exhibitions and events.

The redevelopment project took the top award in the Tourism & Leisure category at the RICS Renaissance Awards 2012.

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public buildings