Over Christmas we took a trip up to Durham City. The University’s colleges have often been suggested to us as projects for the archive but we’ve found little in the way of published information about them or the architects responsible.
Stop 1 was Palace Green library, with it’s fantastic barbed roof. Our first (and since the room itself was closed for the festive break, our only) view of it was from the top of the Cathedral tower. From here the diagonal grid of lanterns protruding from the roof surface was clearly visible. The library was designed by George Pace, who also designed the William Temple Memorial Church on the outskirts of Manchester. We’ve set up a page to it with some more photos here.
We took a detour via the wonderful Kingsgate Bridge and Dunelm House (we’ve added some new photos of Dunelm House on the project page). We recently came across a short film showing Ove Arup at the privitol moment as the bridge was swung into position in 1966 here.
Our next stop was the university to the south of the city centre. We visited Trevelyan, St. Aidans and Van Mildert. Pages on the first two on this list are underway, but Van Mildert was a bit of an enigma. It had been suggested by various people as a project for the archive, but we’ve struggled to find much information on it. (The only article in the RIBA library catalogue refers to the replacement of the original windows with U-PVC in the 1990s, which also gives some indication of what we found when we arrived). The landscape and the buildings were designed by Middlesbrough practice, Middleton, Fletcher and Partners, who later became the Silvester Ashton Partnership. They also designed the Oriental Museum across the road from Van Mildert, and Steel House in Redcar, which have both also been recommended to us for inclusion in the archive. Can anyone tell us anything about them? Clearly they have a portfolio of work that falls within the remit of the SCAM archive – and much of which still exists- but there is a dearth of information on the practice.