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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

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University of Durham to Build 16th Residential College

— A press release from the University of Durham reports that the university is well on the way to establishing its 16th residential college:

The long-planned 16th college of the University of Durham has taken a step closer with the appointment of the architects Gotch, Saunders & Surridge.

The partnership has won a hard-fought architectural competition for a new 600-bed college and additions to two other colleges that in total will add 1000 student rooms in the city. The overall £35.5 million project is due for completion in 2006.

The University has expanded student numbers over the past 15 years in line with the policies of successive governments, and although it has already built about 1000 extra rooms during the same period, the number of students who live out of college in rented housing has increased. The new building programme will reverse that trend.

Vice-Chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman said: “We are delighted to award this prestigious project to a firm that has demonstrated a special touch for the design of quality accommodation for universities. We are a collegiate university and it is our aim to house the majority of students in college rooms.”

Durham’s 16th college, which does not yet have a name, will be for undergraduates. It will be part of the Howlands site off South Road, Durham, alongside student housing for Ustinov College, the exclusively postgraduate college. It will be a self-catering community, like the university’s two most recent colleges, George Stephenson and John Snow at its Queen’s Campus in Stockton. The traditional Durham colleges have large shared dining facilities serving three meals a day, but an increasing number of applicants are attracted to the self-catering option, and the new college will increase choice.

Other buildings in the total package are more rooms for Ustinov College at Howlands, and a new accommodation complex to replace a 1960s structure at Parson’s Field, off Old Elvet, which will be used by St Cuthbert’s Society.

GSS Principal Architect Mr David Allsop said: “We knew we were up against stiff competition from other leading architectural practices. And we therefore decided to recommend a bold and unusual concept, with a sensitive and creative approach.”

Features will include special bricks and sloping green roofs for parts of the college complex, covered with carefully selected slow-growing plants, enabling the buildings to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

GSS are working on the detailed designs for the project which is going forward for planning permission in the next few weeks. Building is due to start next summer and will take two years to complete.

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