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£3m Calton Hill observatory gets underway this week

November 3 2016

£3m Calton Hill observatory gets underway this week
Esh Border Construction are to begin work on a £3m transformation of the Calton Hill observatory, Edinburgh, later this week, realizing long-held plans to create a new restaurant and gallery space within the hilltop observatory.

Intended to open access to the 19th century scientific facility the works will include a restaurant with panoramic views over the city that will be illuminated at night to signify the ‘landmark attraction’ when it opens in October 2017.

Below ground a subterranean gallery space will be carved out to provide space for artists, audiences and producers to come together whilst preserving astronomical instruments and telescopes, which will go on public display.

As part of this work visual arts body Collective and Edinburgh City Council will open the classical observatory complex and grounds to the public for the first time.

Esh regional managing director Simon Phillips, said: “Historically, Calton Hill was a place for stargazing, but it will now house one of the finest visual arts spaces in the country as part of a wide-ranging attraction that will be open to all.

“It will encourage creative interaction, while still placing a firm onus on the site’s astronomical origins, not to mention showcasing wonderful views over Edinburgh to the Forth Bridges.”

Malcolm Fraser Architects first conceived of the visual arts hub with Collective Architecture subsequently progressing the proposals from planning through to on-site delivery. As part of this transition project architect Emma Fairhurst, who began on the project at Malcolm Fraser Architects, is now a member of Collective Architecture.


#1 Posted by Terratory on 3 Nov 2016 at 17:47 PM
It is interesting and sad that MFA receive no mention for doing all of the design work, and for winning what must have been a hard fought battle with planning...

Stunning project nevertheless.
#2 Posted by urbanrealm on 4 Nov 2016 at 10:40 AM
Good point. Project architect Emma Fairhurst originally developed the proposals at Malcolm Fraser and is now working for Collective Architecture. I've updated the piece to this effect.
#3 Posted by BS on 8 Nov 2016 at 22:53 PM
I think it was actually the Collective Gallery which first conceived this idea and then engaged MFA - maybe too many 'collectives' at play...

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