A CAMPAIGN trying to save a piece of Brutalist architecture is hoping to raise more than £7,000 to support a programme to come up with an alternative use for the building.

The Save Dunelm House campaign, set up in defence of Durham University’s controversial student union building, has so far raised more than £2,000 since launching the fundraiser.

The 1960s concrete building, in New Elvet, Durham, has been threatened with demolition following an announcement that Durham University would like to replace it due to the mounting cost of repair.

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The crowdfunding campaign is aimed at creating a platform to discuss ideas around alternative uses for the building and options for reuse and adaptation rather than demolition.

It wants to host a design charrette – a collaborative session aimed at coming up with a vision for development – as well as an exhibition on the outcome of the charrette, a website and a publication.

Project organiser James Perry said: “ The charrette aims to fill in the gaps between the desire of the Students’ Union to no longer be based in Dunelm House, and Durham University’s decision to pursue demolition.

“There are a number of steps missing in reaching that conclusion which we aim to challenge it by drawing together the expertise of designers, historians and engineers.”

Durham University is facing a repair bill of £14.7million for the building, which is now more than 50 years old and has a leaky roof.

It was built between 1964 and 1966 and connects with Ove Arup’s Grade I listed Kingsgate Bridge.

The university wants to demolish the existing building and hold an international architecture competition to come up with a “high quality” replacement, which would be used as a new performance space.

The university has applied for a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COIL), which would prevent Dunelm House from being listed for five years and was supported by the students’ union at a vote in October.

The C20 Society, which campaigns to protect twentieth century architecture, and Historic England have both tried to get the building listed.

Clare Price, senior conservation adviser with C20 Society, said: “We are of the opinion that the issues are ones of repair and that they can be addressed.

“Many buildings of this period, listed and unlisted, suffer from problems with concrete, often caused by lack of maintenance or inappropriate repairs. These issues have successfully been resolved in numerous cases.”

Mr Perry added: “Like all good buildings, Dunelm House is in dire need of long term investment, not short term, ad-hoc fixes and least of all demolition.

“I would say as an architect we need to be looking to reuse, recycle, extend or adapt our buildings rather than disposing of them because we don’t like the way they look.”

The charrette, to take place early next year, would involve teams of architects, students and engineers working on different ideas for the adaptation and refurbishment of the building and would be followed by an exhibition of the outcome in Durham and Newcastle.