Durham University is ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide and holds its principles of creating inspiring and engaging environments to the highest standards.

The Brief.

As teaching styles and practices evolve, it is recognised that many facilities, such as lecture theatres, require modernisation to maintain this ‘best in class’ status and facilitate improved accessibility.

Southernsbroadstock was delighted to be awarded this exciting project with Durham University through a competitive tender process, by meeting the design brief in full and on budget.

Designing for post-pandemic learning.

Design works for the first lecture theatre interior initially started in July 2019 but the project was put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, many students were badly affected by the sense of isolation the pandemic created which inevitably impacted on the learning experience.

Acoustic panelling was installed to reduce reverberation.

Overcoming Challenges.

Durham University wanted to welcome students back with newly refurbished and inviting environments which would inspire them to spend more time on campus. Working with our partner Audise by Frem Group, we developed a unique solution based around a bespoke design concept to meet the brief.

We designed and manufactured a bespoke table solution to enable access for all.

Dynamic problem solving.

Excellence is often determined by the ability to efficiently overcome unexpected difficulties. It was quickly discovered that the subfloor within the lecture theatre in the university’s Dawson Building would not support the proposed tier seating. We were able to install new timber battens to provide additional strength to the floor, together with adjustable frames to accommodate the updated fixtures. An increased qualified labour force was rapidly assembled to ensure the project remained on schedule. 

The outcome.

The vision was to provide tiered seating in bright, contemporary colours and to create an engaging and vibrant atmosphere. Improved wheelchair access was also an important factor and dual-use areas now provide ample room for wheelchair users, whilst giving all students a versatile ‘turn to learn’ seating solution that enables them to interact more easily. Upholstery materials were carefully selected for sustainability, with wool and flax providing the durability needed for a heavy-use environment.

Our project management and installation team were on-site from start to finish
to manage every part of the process.

The Testimonial.

“At Durham University we are continuously working to improve our campus to provide the greatest experience for our students as well as to deliver the finest collaborative teaching available.

Partnering with the Southernsbroadstock team for the recent Lecture Theatre refurbishments allowed Durham University to continue to maintain our position as an education provider of quality collaborative teaching environments.”

Jonathan Stott.
Project Manager, Durham University.