Libeskind unveils striking, angular design for new £10m Durham University research centre

The Northern Echo: An artist's impression of the new Ogden Centre An artist's impression of the new Ogden Centre

THE North’s leading university is angling for success with a striking new £10m building designed by the world-leading architect behind New York’s Ground Zero.

Durham University has today (Friday, January 10) unveiled plans for its Daniel Libeskind-designed Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics.

A spokeswoman said it was a “unique design” reflecting the international standing of the Centre’s two research institutes, giving a “clear and recognisable identity in the context of Durham’s unique architectural heritage”.

Staff, students and residents will be able to give their views at consultation events later this month.

The University has enjoyed a mixed response to its building work in recent years.

Its new £50m headquarters was dubbed a monstrous townscape disaster by the City of Durham Trust but has also won a string of awards.

The new Ogden Centre, on South Road, Durham, would replace the existing facility opened in 2002.

The consultation events will be held in the nearby Calman Learning Centre on January 16 and 22, from 6pm to 8pm.

Meanwhile, the University has been promised £4.85m towards the scheme, £3.35m from the Ogden Trust and £1.5m from the Wolfson Foundation.

Vice-chancellor Professor Chris Higgins said: “Durham is at the forefront of physics in Europe and these transformational gifts will ensure that we remain leaders in unravelling the secrets of the Universe.”

Professor Martin Ward, head of the physics department, said: “The new building will provide a tremendously stimulating environment and foster even closer synergies between the two institutes’ research areas.”

Mr Libeskind has also designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, Denver Art Museum and the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre in Hong Kong and is known for his radical, angular structures.

Research at the Ogden Centre, which includes the Institute for Computational Cosmology and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, is at the cutting edge of world physics, probing the fundamental properties of the Universe from the smallest elementary particles to the to entire cosmos.

Comments (13)

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2:07pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Just when I thought that nothing could be more hideous than the SS Higgins (the awful new admin building named after the 'shabby' VC) along comes this - another blot on the Durham landscape by the university
Just when I thought that nothing could be more hideous than the SS Higgins (the awful new admin building named after the 'shabby' VC) along comes this - another blot on the Durham landscape by the university Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 6

2:10pm Fri 10 Jan 14

RECDH1 says...

How about spending a few million on new colleges to take the ever expanding student numbers? - 15,000 and rising (numbers will no doubt continue to rise now central government has removed cap on recruitment).
How about spending a few million on new colleges to take the ever expanding student numbers? - 15,000 and rising (numbers will no doubt continue to rise now central government has removed cap on recruitment). RECDH1
  • Score: 4

2:33pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

That, RECDH1, would be a sensible idea - and thus entirely beyond the thought process of the present senior management. Moreover, if you build a nice new shiny building the VC gets another chance to wear his seemingly single suit, tie, and grubby shoes in a photo shoot. If he had to open student accommodation he might have to speak to students - the only VC I have ever known who has insisted on all recording devices being switched off when being asked questions by students. - he wouldn't want to be held accountable for what he said - would he?
That, RECDH1, would be a sensible idea - and thus entirely beyond the thought process of the present senior management. Moreover, if you build a nice new shiny building the VC gets another chance to wear his seemingly single suit, tie, and grubby shoes in a photo shoot. If he had to open student accommodation he might have to speak to students - the only VC I have ever known who has insisted on all recording devices being switched off when being asked questions by students. - he wouldn't want to be held accountable for what he said - would he? Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 6

2:33pm Fri 10 Jan 14

David Lacey says...

I'm no expert in architecture so the design matters little to me. But the fact that millions are being poured into Durham University must be good news.
I'm no expert in architecture so the design matters little to me. But the fact that millions are being poured into Durham University must be good news. David Lacey
  • Score: -1

5:52pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Millions being poured into the university for research would, I agree, David be excellent - as it would cement the word reputation of the university. However, I fear it is also getting a reputation for being 'unhelpful' to the city that hosts it - its role in the Oswald development, the new HQ building, the cost of the gospel entrance (given they are free in London), the growing problems of studentification in the viaduct area (and a lack of increased student accommodation owned by the university to mitigate against this).
I query why everything must be 'shiny and new' and so jarring with the overall feel of the centre of town.
Millions being poured into the university for research would, I agree, David be excellent - as it would cement the word reputation of the university. However, I fear it is also getting a reputation for being 'unhelpful' to the city that hosts it - its role in the Oswald development, the new HQ building, the cost of the gospel entrance (given they are free in London), the growing problems of studentification in the viaduct area (and a lack of increased student accommodation owned by the university to mitigate against this). I query why everything must be 'shiny and new' and so jarring with the overall feel of the centre of town. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 5

6:56pm Fri 10 Jan 14

sabrina west says...

WOW!! Great looking building yet again by Durham University
Surely a future tourist attraction for the City,designed by probably the world's most talented architect.
Great news for the north east area
WOW!! Great looking building yet again by Durham University Surely a future tourist attraction for the City,designed by probably the world's most talented architect. Great news for the north east area sabrina west
  • Score: -1

7:36pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Birdyy says...

Looks great. Go for it
Looks great. Go for it Birdyy
  • Score: -1

9:35pm Fri 10 Jan 14

RECDH1 says...

sabrina west wrote:
WOW!! Great looking building yet again by Durham University
Surely a future tourist attraction for the City,designed by probably the world's most talented architect.
Great news for the north east area
How about employing a cheaper architect and spending some of the money saved on building new colleges to take the ever expanding student numbers etc etc?. Less grandstanding and more consideration for the permenant residents of Durham City (ever fewer in number) would go down well in the host city.
[quote][p][bold]sabrina west[/bold] wrote: WOW!! Great looking building yet again by Durham University Surely a future tourist attraction for the City,designed by probably the world's most talented architect. Great news for the north east area[/p][/quote]How about employing a cheaper architect and spending some of the money saved on building new colleges to take the ever expanding student numbers etc etc?. Less grandstanding and more consideration for the permenant residents of Durham City (ever fewer in number) would go down well in the host city. RECDH1
  • Score: 2

10:58pm Fri 10 Jan 14

Andyleigh says...

Another eyesore.
Another eyesore. Andyleigh
  • Score: 2

6:21pm Sun 12 Jan 14

sineater says...

They have built new colleges in the last few years, the graduate society was expanded and renamed Peter Ustinov college,and there is the Josephine butler college, or are they just societies,either way what has that got to do with this new building.
They have built new colleges in the last few years, the graduate society was expanded and renamed Peter Ustinov college,and there is the Josephine butler college, or are they just societies,either way what has that got to do with this new building. sineater
  • Score: 0

10:04pm Sun 12 Jan 14

RECDH1 says...

sineater wrote:
They have built new colleges in the last few years, the graduate society was expanded and renamed Peter Ustinov college,and there is the Josephine butler college, or are they just societies,either way what has that got to do with this new building.
It’s this:

The university’s own statistics show that undergraduate numbers have increased by c.35% since 1999, with most of this increase occurring 7-8 years ago. The student population of Durham now stands at c.15,000, of which about 10,000 are undergraduates. But the rapid expansion in numbers has not been accompanied by sufficient expansion of college halls to accommodate the additional students. Over 50% of all undergraduates (2nd and 3rd year students) now have to live outside university halls, being accommodated instead in privately rented houses (Houses in Multiple Occupation – HMOs) primarily in the centre of Durham. Streets within central areas of the city (and in particular the Viaduct, Elvet and Whinney Hill areas) are now almost completely converted to HMOs reserved for student rentals – i.e. 70-90% of properties in a street are student lets. With the continuing boom in the private rental sector, streets further away from the City Centre are also undergoing a transition towards student rented accommodation.
What are the consequences for long-term residents of ongoing conversion of properties to student HMOs? Here are a few: properties being unavailable to buyers other than landlords, so causing loss of family homes in the city (the 2011 census shows that the city’s population has been declining in the centre in terms of permanent residents); unsympathetic structural changes to properties in the City Conservation Area; frequent noise disturbance and anti-social behaviour from properties and footfall in streets between HMOs and the city centre; a build-up of litter and household refuse in streets and back alleys where HMOS dominate; lack of sustainable communities as streets are empty of residents outside term time; targeting of vacant houses by thieves in holiday periods. The proliferation of HMOs in Durham has resulted in the need for constant multi-agency action (police, council refuse / neighbourhood warden services, university security staff, residents’ groups) to try to address resultant disturbance effects.
Durham’s planning authorities, both past District and present County, have failed to tackle the need to regulate and strategically plan student accommodation. A new postgrad college and 400 bed places in J. Butler College, while welcome, just scratch the surface of the student accommodation needs. So that’s why I wonder: how many bed spaces would £10 million buy?
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: They have built new colleges in the last few years, the graduate society was expanded and renamed Peter Ustinov college,and there is the Josephine butler college, or are they just societies,either way what has that got to do with this new building.[/p][/quote]It’s this: The university’s own statistics show that undergraduate numbers have increased by c.35% since 1999, with most of this increase occurring 7-8 years ago. The student population of Durham now stands at c.15,000, of which about 10,000 are undergraduates. But the rapid expansion in numbers has not been accompanied by sufficient expansion of college halls to accommodate the additional students. Over 50% of all undergraduates (2nd and 3rd year students) now have to live outside university halls, being accommodated instead in privately rented houses (Houses in Multiple Occupation – HMOs) primarily in the centre of Durham. Streets within central areas of the city (and in particular the Viaduct, Elvet and Whinney Hill areas) are now almost completely converted to HMOs reserved for student rentals – i.e. 70-90% of properties in a street are student lets. With the continuing boom in the private rental sector, streets further away from the City Centre are also undergoing a transition towards student rented accommodation. What are the consequences for long-term residents of ongoing conversion of properties to student HMOs? Here are a few: properties being unavailable to buyers other than landlords, so causing loss of family homes in the city (the 2011 census shows that the city’s population has been declining in the centre in terms of permanent residents); unsympathetic structural changes to properties in the City Conservation Area; frequent noise disturbance and anti-social behaviour from properties and footfall in streets between HMOs and the city centre; a build-up of litter and household refuse in streets and back alleys where HMOS dominate; lack of sustainable communities as streets are empty of residents outside term time; targeting of vacant houses by thieves in holiday periods. The proliferation of HMOs in Durham has resulted in the need for constant multi-agency action (police, council refuse / neighbourhood warden services, university security staff, residents’ groups) to try to address resultant disturbance effects. Durham’s planning authorities, both past District and present County, have failed to tackle the need to regulate and strategically plan student accommodation. A new postgrad college and 400 bed places in J. Butler College, while welcome, just scratch the surface of the student accommodation needs. So that’s why I wonder: how many bed spaces would £10 million buy? RECDH1
  • Score: 4

11:03pm Sun 12 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

My goodness, RECDH1, with views like that you - like I - must have been expuged from the VC's Christmas card list. The County Hospital would, of course, have provided ample accomodation - as would a new college based on OSH and the Three tuns. The latesst mooted idea to sell part of Hild/Bede/School of Ed will of course onyl exacerbate, and one has to question who benefitted financially from the removal of the covenants on the land near the old swimming pool.
My goodness, RECDH1, with views like that you - like I - must have been expuged from the VC's Christmas card list. The County Hospital would, of course, have provided ample accomodation - as would a new college based on OSH and the Three tuns. The latesst mooted idea to sell part of Hild/Bede/School of Ed will of course onyl exacerbate, and one has to question who benefitted financially from the removal of the covenants on the land near the old swimming pool. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 2

2:18pm Mon 13 Jan 14

RECDH1 says...

I think perfect site for new college would have been the land currently being developed for luxury homes, between Durham Business School and St Aidan's college. Wonder who sold that off?
I think perfect site for new college would have been the land currently being developed for luxury homes, between Durham Business School and St Aidan's college. Wonder who sold that off? RECDH1
  • Score: 1

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