Old Town hotel stitches a forgotten Cowgate corner back together
June 27 2022
Three separate 'at risk' buildings in Edinburgh's Cowgate have been knitted back into Edinburgh's Old Town to form a 222-bed hotel.
Virgin Hotels with Ica Architects have rationalised the disjointed set of listed buildings by introducing new build elements which serve to link each element together, framing views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the process.
Emphasising accessibility the design makes sense of a complex site by focussing on vertical circulation in the constricted multi-level urban terrain, with a selection of bars and restaurants fronting Victoria Street and Cowgate opening onto re-established closes. A semi-public outdoor courtyard and rooftop garden are also provided.
In a press statement, Ica wrote: "Sandstone was used to allow the new build elements to sit harmoniously with neighbouring buildings while showing glimpses of modern detailing in the stonework, gables, windows, and rooflines. Balconies were partially hidden, wrapped in glazing with a printed sandstone image, allowing light into the rooms, while presenting a discreet stone outer skin to the street."
Internally period features including a domed glass rotunda, decorative cornices and timber panels have been retained, set against more modern features such as a glass panelled entrance, lighting and artwork.
During archaeological digs, several 10th-century siege weapons were unearthed as well as a portion of the old city walls.
A second phase of works will see the Victorian Greyfriars Hall reopen as an events space this autumn.
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