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Durlston Castle

Swanage, Dorset

Set on a cliff top at the Eastern Gateway to the Jurassic Coast the grade 2 listed building - originally built by George Burt 120 years ago - required urgent restoration work to save it. The Castle had fallen into disrepair and had dry and wet rot and serious structural problems.


Greendale's won the competitive OJEU tender process and commenced work in March 2010 to create a World Class Visitor Centre. The 74 week part Heritage Lottery Funded project involved the complete restoration of the castle, a new shop and Gallery extension, and the construction of a time line path from main car park to castle entrance. The castle was constructed on 4 levels - each level is now interlinked by lifts and series of ramps so that all areas can be accessed. A new observation deck and restored belvedere with new copper roof offers panoramic views of the Dorset coast. The new Fine Foundation Gallery is a multi function display and arts area and has a permanent Rock Room with fossil exhibits from the Jurassic coast. Outside the Gallery is a small amphitheatre and two cantilevered viewing platforms. The project also included a new restaurant, new public toilets, new reception with interactive features, external café terrace and extensive external works. On the M&E side the castle now benefits from a new LPG heating system, new electric mains, new foul and surface water drainage systems, new water mains and data [fibre optics] The Castle has be saved from the brink and can now be enjoyed by future generations. Greendale's were please to win Master Builder of the year 2012 in the commercial category for the Durston Project.


Employer Dorset County Council

Architects Long and Kentish

Structural Engineers DEC and Buro Happold

Surveyors Trevor Humphrys

Value £4.3 million

Duration 74 weeks


Construction Notes

One of the lifts is located in the East keep which was originally filled with earth. The earth was excavated out and keep walls were strengthened and new RC stairs were installed. In the central core a passenger lift complete with exposed shaft was installed. Around the level 4 observation deck were the remnants of terracotta bulustrading. As part of the project we completely replaced this balustrade around the whole building with new - taking mouldings of the original and firing new with differing pigments and heats to produce a mix of colours. The heavy cornice stones at level 4 were pulling away from the main building and a stainless steel ring beam system was installed with straps in the floor zone to support, stabilise and tie in the external stone work. The bank on the east side was stabilised with gabion cages so that the shop extension could be constructed.



See more images of this project


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