The site is located on Drury Lane and sits next to the Elvet Bridge, overlooking both the bridge and the River Wear. It is protected by dense trees and shrubbery, as well as the surrounding buildings. The initial idea was to create a music library – in part due to the high demand of physical music which has appeared as a reaction to the use of apps such as Itunes and Spotify. The vinyl music industry is currently booming and this building allowed a space for people to borrow, use and enjoy music. The project created both private booths and more social areas with a relaxed atmosphere, including a café for people wanting a casual visit to the library.
The building was first influenced by boathouses, especially due to the proximity to the River Wear and nearby rowing clubs. The long and narrow building style fit comfortably within the summarily narrow site, meaning a consistent 3m grid running along the building was chosen for the structure.
Concrete was initially chosen due to a key aspect of the build being the courtyard spaces created by the trees (which are protected by TPO). It was chosen due to the way timber and concrete interact with one another, this was heavily influenced by courtyard buildings and libraries (such as Khan’s Exeter Library). Concrete was an important structural choice due to the weight that the building would be carrying in the shelving units. Durham’s planning restrictions meant that the building couldn’t be one solid block, and visually needed to be broken into several parts. This restriction is what created the form of the front of the building which steps back slowly, softened by the exposed concrete structure. It also allowed viewing platforms (both indoor and outdoor) for the public.Delaval Hall Bridge ALL WORK Hadrians Wall Visitor Centre