Built into the steeply-sloping bank of the River Wear, the 1965 Dunelm House is a Brutalist, angular concrete building in the centre of Durham.
Home to Durham University’s student union, the building was designed by the Architects Co-Partnership and completed under the supervision of Sir Ove Arup.
Internally the main staircase linking all five levels of the building runs in an entirely straight line - intended to create the feeling of an interior street. Arup (design engineer of the Sydney Opera House) was also responsible for the adjacent Kingsgate Bridge, which opened two years earlier.
Arup was particularly attached to Kingsgate Bridge, one of his personal designs, and had his ashes scattered from it following his death.
Durham County Council's Local Plan describes their distinction, commenting that they ‘provide an exhilarating pedestrian route … out into open space over the river gorge’.