For the first time the City Trust’s annual award, open to all buildings constructed or restored in Durham District during 1995, has been shared by two entries: the new, transferred premises of the Claypath Medical Practice, at Gilesgate, and the extension to the Methodist Chapel at Carrville. The two could hardly be more contrasted pieces of design.
The Medical Practice occupies a challenging position at the entry to the city, just off the Bede roundabout, such that the unit constitutes not only highly visual architecture but also a critical early element in the townscape. Its massing and gentle curvature nicely reflect the beginning of the built-up area, its detailing echoes that of the street which it now “begins’. The building entrance, emphasized by a glass-covered ramp and wrought-iron railings, is nicely emphasized but not over-powering. Car spaces for 20 vehicles are, happily, concealed behind. The architects for the project were the Howarth Litchfield Partnership of Durham; the builders were Newton Moor Construction Ltd. of Ushaw Moor.
Trustees were equally impressed by the extension to the Carrville Methodist Church, but for completely different reasons. The piece does not constitute townscape, and as architecture it is hardly visible from the High Street, but the overall concept and quality of materials and detailing make it a most satisfying experience. The internal layout, quality of the finish, including a high level of insulation for the various meeting rooms, constitute not only a highly functional, but an aesthetically pleasing, series of internal spaces. The new building is heavily used by both Chapel groups and the wider community. The whole project is a tribute to the vision of the congregation as well as to the sensitive interpretation of that vision by the architects, the Pattison Myles Partnership of Jesmond, and builders, T, Manners and Sons Ltd., Bishop Auckland.
Details published in Bulletin 38 January 1996.