Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects - Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland

St Bede's College, Durham Dormitory

Christchurch

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Initially engaged to 'tidy-up' St Bede's Durham building as demand for accommodation grew following the Christchurch earthquakes, the scope of the project expanded and our brief changed. Boarding facilities were added to the top floor and common room amenities to the ground. The top two floors are divided into a series of bunkrooms, 'homes away from home' taking the form of individual custom-designed bunk and storage pods. Honouring the existing structure of the historic building, we also opened up the internal spaces to access natural light and ventilation.

Photos: David Straight.

Awards: NZIA Local Award, 2015; NZIA Colour Award, 2015.

The structural strengthening and fit-out of the Durham dormitory has given contemporary relevance to an ageing building and made it a key part of the campus' boarding facilities. Consideration of the students' need for storage allows for the bunkrooms to be kept clear and tidy. The bunk joinery pods read as crafted furniture installations within the heritage fabric creating tension between new and old. Our design has also allowed greater flexibility for future adaptive reuse of this much-loved heritage building.

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