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Staran Architects apply finishing touches to Waverley Arches

November 9 2015

Staran Architects apply finishing touches to Waverley Arches
Staran Architects are close to unveiling Edinburgh’s revamped Waverley Arches on behalf of Artisan Real Estate, a project which they hope will reconnect North Bridge with the Canongate through what was once a ‘no man’s land’.

The £1.5m project will see a set of C-listed stone arches on Jeffrey Street converted to offer space for a variety of bars, restaurants and retailers by instaslling new glass curtain walling and feature lighting.

Staran Architects director James Ferguson commented: “There is an obvious sense of splendour with the detailed stone work within the vault of the arches ceilings, however, the practical issue was how to prevent water coming in from Jeffrey Street above.
"Traditional damp proofing techniques suggested dry lining the roof with a membrane, but any visual aesthetic would be instantly lost. We had to think outside the box, and worked hard with a damp proofers Richardson and Starling to come up with a clear resin that keeps the stone work in place, but still offers a robust damp proofing solution.”

Since setting up practice in 2012 Staran has grown to a team of four and has been involved in a number of projects around Edinburgh such as the Code youth hostel on Rose Street and is currently in process of converting the former Broughton High School into 74 homes.
Staran are in process of converting the former Broughton High School into 74 homes
Staran are in process of converting the former Broughton High School into 74 homes


boaby wan
#1 Posted by boaby wan on 9 Nov 2015 at 11:49 AM
was this not conceived by another firm?
I remember seeing drawings a couple of years ago, maybe zone?
Was it a case of one firm doing the design then handing it over to someone cheaper to deliver?
Be interesting to see the end results...
Stevie Steve
#2 Posted by Stevie Steve on 9 Nov 2015 at 13:22 PM
Yeah it was Zone. I think they won a competition.
#3 Posted by JT on 9 Nov 2015 at 13:36 PM
Nice Advertorial piece UR....
nitty gritty
#4 Posted by nitty gritty on 9 Nov 2015 at 17:10 PM
Sorry to be a pain, but am I the only one who's thinking that's not an altogether robust skirting detail? In fact, it's really non-existent on what i can see so far (a face cap just won't do it)?

If aesthetics are to have any meaning (and they must), then surely they must reflect why something looks a certain way? In this case an appropriate skirting would accommodate a stiff 6'' brush, or the kind used by mechanical street sweepers. Somehow, I just don't think toughened glass is up to it never mind the kind of impact that will unfortunately happen at pedestrian pavement level.

Drat! Those mundane issues just go spoiling it all for everybody. Other than that, it's luvverly, and still rescu-able...
#5 Posted by clive on 10 Nov 2015 at 06:58 AM
yes, it has been proposed by others. it has also been thought of by many. It has certainly been the subject of discussions i've had.
But Staran have delivered.
It's great to see some news of a real project, that's happening, from a small and relatively new outfit.
Warms the cockles.
boaby wan
#6 Posted by boaby wan on 10 Nov 2015 at 10:35 AM
Clive, that's fair enough - can anyone clarify what happened to Zone's involvement after winning the competition for the design?
Looking at the photos and the Zone scheme linked above it does seem like it's pretty much the same scheme... Staran should get the credit for delivery, but surely the guys that designed it (and won the competition) should get the credit for the design, whether or not they are a new/small/old/large outfit?
ZONE Architects
#7 Posted by ZONE Architects on 11 Nov 2015 at 16:57 PM
We are happy to confirm that we are the authors of the design that Staran are delivering. It is a shame that developers working in Edinburgh's World Heritage Site do not value architects/architecture enough to maintain the continuity of a design team - one that will fight to ensure proper detailing. However everyone is so relieved so this space developed after lying empty for so long they are prepared to overlook a few clunky glazing details . . .
#8 Posted by shabbadoo on 13 Nov 2015 at 08:48 AM
..... drink up trig, we're leaving.
the sultan of brooneye
#9 Posted by the sultan of brooneye on 13 Nov 2015 at 16:00 PM
I think the only fair and reasonable way to resolve this is for ZONE Architects and Staran to put forward their best and strongest combatant, and let a fight to the death (or until one person starts crying) commence.

Also I don't think much of the 'black X' manifestation on the glazing; this isn't the X-files and you Mr. Staran are not Agent Mulder.
#10 Posted by dalrylama on 13 Nov 2015 at 16:29 PM
From the Staran Website:

"James has a strong interest and strength in the construction end of Building Projects, and is always eager to test his hand at the difficult and non-standard construction detail."

Bravo I say James. All these people doubting your difficult, non-standard construction detail - shame on them.
#11 Posted by Rem-Job on 13 Nov 2015 at 17:24 PM
Surely the Starchitects at staran could have given us a bit more information about all their work and future projects. The current article seems a bit clunky and not developed enough.....
Auntie Negativity
#12 Posted by Auntie Negativity on 15 Nov 2015 at 10:59 AM
Wow people are all ready to rain on a folk's parade when there's a success story! This is a sterling effort from a very young practice... I think it's heartening to see them rise. Could the authors of the negative comments detailed those arches any better? If so, where are you on this project?

On that note, Zone perhaps need to stop throwing their toys out of the pram and gracefully pass on the baton. Their comment is most unbecoming. Thankfully Staran appear to bear better values in their professional conduct.
nitty gritty
#13 Posted by nitty gritty on 16 Nov 2015 at 08:49 AM
#12 - alongside my positive comment - 'it's luvverly, and still rescu-able...', in answer to your question, yes, i would have detailed the bottom condition of the arches differently (as it is a public pavement and not set in a private garden) by setting the bottom transom at least 6'' above the FGL, notching the nosing and front wall of the mullion off below (and plating it) and turned up the paving (caithness or whatever) as a skirting and positioning it so that the weepholes (if a drained system) in the pressure plates were in front of the skirting. In practical terms, that's the approach of how I would have considered doing it in addressing the likelihood of impact question. I wasn't anywhere near this project. And?

Now all that seems to me to be a fair point to make, one that any reasonable questioning of detailing/aesthetic would have brought out.
Mark Henderson
#14 Posted by Mark Henderson on 10 Dec 2015 at 10:16 AM
I went past this development at dusk a few days ago - it looks fantastic! I didn't know much about it, other than remembering the area being done to death as university projects! Seems like Staran have done a great job, however I would agree with #4, but that said, a skirting wouldn't look as slick. I'm a bit baffled by the zone discussions, they won a competition for artists studios a number of years ago, but that's not what the development is? The elevations are similar, but clearly different. How far does copyright go on the positioning of millions and transoms in an existing opening! I'm more baffled as to why a reputable practice would place comments on a public forum and then slate another practices detailing ability in the process - most undignified! Well done Staran, great to see a young Scottish Architects practice emerging from the recession, particularly after the news of other practices demise in recent months.
boaby wan
#15 Posted by boaby wan on 10 Dec 2015 at 11:51 AM
Mark, have you seen the article posted in comment 2 above - looks pretty much the same all round. Can't really understand how it could be seen as any different in intention from the zone scheme. Given that is the scheme which gained planning approval and subsequent renewal (although I have just taken than from the zone website...)
I don't think it's undignified for zone to reply to comments asking if they had been dropped, it would in fact be interesting to get any reasoning as to why they were dropped for the delivery of the project (as it doesn't seem on the face anyway, that Staran are any better placed to deliver a project like this)
Mark Henderson
#16 Posted by Mark Henderson on 10 Dec 2015 at 22:31 PM
Boaby, my undignified note wasn’t in relation to Zone being dropped, and I would like to know why myself? Perhaps Zone could tell us since they are posting here? My note was in relation to their comments on ‘proper detailing’. Slightly below the belt from a reputable firm if you are not involved in budget constraints, technical problems and ‘client knows best’ scenarios.

In terms of the scheme, I’m only going on what I’ve seen on line and on market street, but it’s clearly different internally, and with a new listed building application changing it externally beyond the planning renewal. It also appears to be a retail parade and not artist studios.

Anyway, in the words of #8…….

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