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Durham University: Mount Oswald Residences

The Durham University Mount Oswald Residences Project provides two distinct colleges comprising 1,000 bed spaces (992 bedrooms) and associated facilities: two college heart buildings, a hub building containing formal dining facilities. Property Week Student Accommodation Awards 2020 Winner; University Halls of Residence of the Year 2020.
Client Durham University and Equitix
Location Durham
No. of Bedrooms 1000
Status Completed September 2020

The scheme was successfully completed on time and on budget in Sept 2020, despite the challenges brought on by Covid and lockdown.

Mount Oswald

Working as Lead Designers in the Interserve Consortium, Willmore Iles Architects developed the design in accordance with the University’s Visions and Values. Emphasising the importance of Durham Colleges as scholarly communities with a shared community life and common purpose.

College Principals attended all design development meetings to ensure the emerging design proposals were appropriate to the unique institution of a Durham College. In particular, that they were specific to the character of the John Snow College which will transfer to the Mount Oswald site from the Queens Campus.

One of the key requirements was to design two colleges that look manifestly different, but equally splendid. The colleges have an identical scope and function. So the proposals adopted radically different design strategies, forms and materials to differentiate them. One College has a formal, orthogonal layout with traditional materials, And the other has a more irregular layout, landscape treatment and facade patterns.

The resolution of these design challenges will elevate the design from halls of residence to Durham University colleges. This theme has been a continuous thread throughout the evolution of the design.

“Positive attitude is very important but sector knowledge is absolutely critical and I’ve not come across any practice yet, that has Willmore Iles’ experience in the sector.” Paul Ellenor, Interserve NE

Looking for help with a similar project?

Contact: Andrew Iles