Niven Architects - The Greenhouse.jpg

Commissioned by Groundwork West Durham –  a non-profit making organisation funded largely by local bodies building – Niven were asked to design and construct a building to provide 10,000 sq ft of space for the local NHS and 30,000 sq ft of business starter units. The project brief was largely focused on providing a sustainable development which would encourage inward migration of small businesses to the area, echoing the ethos behind the Groundwork organisation.

The project boasts an array of sustainable and environmentally friendly features; the primary heat source within the building is provided by Geo-Thermal heating and the cooling to the building is provided via a dedicated ground coupled heat pump which removes the heat from the building and transfers it back into the ground.

The project also includes a 225 Kwh wind turbine; the main source of electricity for the development is situated in the South East corner of the site. Surplus energy produced by the wind turbine is fed directly into the National Grid through the project’s dedicated substation. In keeping with the ethos of the project, the wind turbine has been transported from it’s original location in Cumbria and re-used at the Greenhouse site.

The success of the scheme resulted in it receiving a ‘Commendation Award’ from Durham County Council in recognition of the contribution the scheme made to the quality of the County’s environment.


Location: Durham

Client: Groundwork West Durham

Construction Value: £4M 

Status: Completed

Role: Architect


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