The location of the Gates in Durham is one of the most protected and globally significant sites in the UK. With this in mind, careful consideration had to be given in the planning of this project. Capita’s architecture firm ESA has been working closely with the client, stakeholders, English Heritage, and the planning team in Durham to fashion a complex masterplan and building design around The Gates shopping area in the centre of this historic city.
The site is overlooked by the World Heritage precinct of the cathedral and castle, and fronts the River Wear on its western edge. Currently, the site has failing retail, empty units, and falling market appeal. The brief calls for a mix of commercial and public realm uses including retail, cinemas, student halls and associated parking. The scheme is currently in detailed design.
BIM has been used from the concept stage up until the current stage of detailed design and tender. Developing the project in BIM has helped to achieve a greater understanding of this vastly complex project for all of the stakeholders involved. This process has been vital in designing a 3D model of the existing building.
The model was used to produce presentation images at the planning stage, this was key for a city centre site surrounded by UNESCO assets. The model has also highlighted the constraints of the existing structure, provided a basis for the buildings energy model. It has also been significant in providing a more accurate costing for the project throughout the design process. The additional resource required to develop the BIM model in the early stages is beginning to reap rewards as a more coordinated and more accurately costed design proposal emerges with the aim of streamlining the design process.
The scheme received planning permission with a unanimous decision from council members, it is fully supported by Historic England and has been welcomed by the community.
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