Dunelm House, Durham University, UK

Architects Co-Partnership
Date Built
New Elvet, Durham
On the outside wall of Dunelm house on the approach to the Kingsgate Bridge is a bust of Sir Ove Arup the man credited with the fact that he, "Personally designed every detail of Kingsgate Bridge ... and was the structural engineer and architectural advisor for Dunelm House."  When the bust was unveiled the Vice Chancellor of Durham University said, "Kingsgate Bridge and Dunelm House are two of the finest examples of 20 Century architecture in the City and it is fitting that Sir Ove's creativity should be honoured with this new bust."  Arup was the structural engineer who worked beside the Danish architect Jørn Utzon in the construction of the Sydney Opera House.

Kingsgate Bridge spans the River Wear beside Dunelm House connecting New Elvet with Palace Green.  The building, which bears the Latin name for Durham, has been home to the Durham Student's Union since it opened in 1965. 

As you can imagine, in a city steeped in history, with its iconic Cathedral and Castle dominating this ancient city built in a loop of the river Wear, Arup's brutalist concrete building has had its critics.  However, significantly, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described it as, "Brutalist by tradition but not brutal to the landscape ... the elements, though bold, [are] sensitively composed."