The Post Graduate Study Centre is at the forefront of Middle Eastern studies, teaching and research in Britain. The foundation of this is the University of Durham’s long legacy of teaching of Arabic, Persian and Turkish language and literature, Islamic studies and social scientific studies of the region.
Fundamental to the design was the concept of the building being of an appropriate scale and form within the existing landscape. Conceptually, the design aims to create a sense of enclosure by forming the third edge connecting the tree belts to the north east and north west. To the south the roof form gently sweeps up from the contours of the site to maintain the vista of the tree canopy beyond, and provide a sense of scale commensurate with the open space formed by the building and the existing tree belt.
The building comprises two facetted pavilions linked by a ‘key stone’ that forms the main entrance and vertical circulation. The ‘key stone’ provides a modest approach to the building, but gently draws visitors into the building from the natural enclosure.