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Institute of Advanced Study

About Cosin's Hall

Image: General View of Cosin's Hall, a typical Georgian building, characterized by a simple massive facade, and rows of rectangular windows

Cosin's Hall, home to the IAS, dates from the early 18th century, and was originally an Archdeacon’s Inn. It was converted into University accommodation in the 1830s, at which point it was named Cosin’s Hall.


Who was Cosin?
John Cosin was a 17th century Bishop of Durham, who built and refurbished several buildings on and around Palace Green. He was responsible for the construction of the adjacent almshouses, the grammar school and library across Palace Green, as well as extensive refurbishment of the Cathedral and Castle. Ironically, he did not build the Hall – it was simply named in his honour.

The Style of the Building

The building’s simple, regular façade is typical of Georgian period architecture (1700-1800), of which this is an early example. It also marks the beginning of a period of constructing imposing buildings in brick in Durham – all of the earlier buildings around Palace Green were built of stone.

The Building today

Although the building’s façade is well preserved (a doorway has been blocked up at the southern corner of the building – but this is hardly noticeable), few of its original interior details have been preserved.

Today Cosin's Hall is home of the Institute of Advanced Study, (IAS) established in 2006. The Institute of Advanced Study is the University’s leading interdisciplinary research institute, and one of only a handful worldwide that enable collaboration across the full spectrum of academic disciplines. Its core aim is to enable transformational exchanges of ideas and to foster creative collaborations across disciplinary boundaries and between Durham academics and its visiting Fellows. Since its inception the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) has supported interdisciplinary research in a variety of ways. It has developed multiple research activities under major annual themes: The Legacy of Charles Darwin, Modelling, Being Human, Water, Futures, Futures II, Time, Light, Emergence and Evidence.