City Hall, Sunderland

Desco were appointed to deliver the mechanical and electrical design for City Hall, the new home of Sunderland City Council and a range of other public sector support organisations which opened in November 2021.

Built on the former Vaux site, which is part of the Riverside Sunderland Regeneration Masterplan, the new £42m building was commissioned to replace the old Sunderland Civic Centre which had been the home of the council since 1970. Covering 190,000 sq. ft. City Hall is double the size of The Beam, the first building to be completed on the Vaux development which Desco also designed the M&E services.

The new ‘hub’ development comprises of two linked 5 and 7 storey buildings connected by a large glass atrium and features Grade A Office space, council chambers, courts, mayoral and political party offices, wellness suite, presentation and business lounge, 50 bookable meeting rooms, café and a roof terrace. A number of public sector partners join the council in the new development including housing provider Gentoo and the Department of Work and Pensions, owing to its contemporary, efficient design, geographical location and pleasing aesthetic.

Added value is provided through various energy saving measures, including specialist lighting, free cooling chillers and ventilation control. Occupant wellness was also a key priority with increased ventilation rates and natural daylight provided within the building. The design has been developed whilst being cognisant of emerging trends in the sector, allowing it to be easily adapted in the future. This will serve to maximise cost effectiveness and preserve the site’s longevity whilst still achieving the authority’s sustainability objectives.

The building has been funded by investment giant Legal & General as part of a £100m commitment to Riverside Sunderland, which will also pave the way for two more commercial buildings to be constructed on the site.

City Hall has been awarded numerous awards since it’s completion in 2021:

  • 2022 North East Property Awards – Design Excellence (Winner)
  • 2022 North East Property Awards – Public-Private Collaboration of the Year (Shortlisted)
  • 2022 North East Property Awards – Commercial Development of the Year (Winner)
  • 2022 RTPI Awards – Planning Excellence (Shortlisted)
  • 2022 BCO North East Regional Awards – Corporate Workplace (Winner)
  • 2022 Constructing Excellence North East Awards – Integration and Collaborative Working (Shortlisted)
  • 2022 Constructing Excellence North East Awards – Building Project of the Year (Highly Commended)
  • 2022 BCO National Awards – Best of the Best (Winner)
  • 2022 BCO National Awards – Best Corporate Workplace (Winner)


City Hall





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