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Apartment bid to complete B-listed Pilrig terrace

January 29 2021

Apartment bid to complete B-listed Pilrig terrace

A detached home dating from 1948 in Edinburgh's Pilrig Conservation Area is in line for the wrecking ball to complete a B-listed Georgian terrace.

The gable wall at 48 Pilrig Street displays an extra set of chimney flues, raggled cope and recessed quoins for an end-terrace property which never came, sparking desire from the current owners of its immediate neighbour to finally finish the job.

Lorn MacNeal Architects have been instructed to accomplish this by demolishing 50 Pilrig Street at the junction with Dryden Street and erecting nine apartments in its place, matching the scale and materials palette of its neighbour in the process. Faced in natural stone under a slated pitched roof the addition with natural zinc cladding employed as a lightweight, contemporary foil to the rear.

In a design statement, the architects explained: "The main entrance is accessed off Pilrig Street with stone steps and bridge across the lower level patios. An accessible lower entrance is through the rear garden off Dryden Street.

"The offset chimney rhythm of the neighbouring houses is continued with a stone 'bookend' gable to Dryden Street. To the rear the materials become more lightweight with zinc and aluminum introduced, and the height and mass of the building is stepped down."

Arranged over five floors by providing habitable roof space the project will retain a rear garden with no parking.

The form and materials of the new addition are designed to be more complementary of its neighbours
The form and materials of the new addition are designed to be more complementary of its neighbours


Symmetry is important
#1 Posted by Symmetry is important on 29 Jan 2021 at 10:18 AM
I think this ultimately would be a better use of space with so close to the city centre is a real bonus.

I understand why the windows do not match as they're trying to get an extra floor in but those windows not aligning on the front elevation with the original property next door looks a little mismatched.
#2 Posted by Roysters on 29 Jan 2021 at 14:48 PM
This block is getting a bit of action, with this round the corner too:

Existing cottage is quaint if ill-proportioned in places, and looks fairly neglected, so probably no great loss.

Agree with 'Symmetry'- better use of space, but also agree that trying to squeeze in an extra floor between ground and first floor does look quite mean.

The stringcourse below the first floor windows on the adjacent property is disregarded in this extension/addition. Though perhaps not a critical feature to continue on the new addition, it does illustrate the difference in scale that these new floors levels will achieve compared to the existing neighbour.

I prefer not to be able to touch my ceiling, but I guess having an extra storey of accommodation is economically more appealing.
#3 Posted by Dave on 31 Jan 2021 at 12:42 PM
The cottage is ugly as s**t but this proposal is even worse :(
#4 Posted by HMR on 1 Feb 2021 at 08:43 AM
Complete the Georgian, hmm not sure I agree with that statement. Such little care has been applied to the new dormers. A real shame, zero effort on design. The only thing that could be deemed a success is the continuous ridgeline.
Sue Pearman
#5 Posted by Sue Pearman on 1 Feb 2021 at 12:22 PM
Awe, that's a shame for the cute wee house.
Stevie Steve
#6 Posted by Stevie Steve on 1 Feb 2021 at 13:36 PM
The existing 'cottage' is an out of scale eye sore! Reading through the planning submission, it actually seems quite well considered and a good proposal.
#7 Posted by Rach on 3 Feb 2021 at 10:16 AM
Will be happy to see the back of this run down house tbh! Will be good having something fresh on the corner which provides much needed city centre accommodation. Like the way the windows tie in with existing at top and bottom and makes sense to squeeze in an extra floor - nobody needs high Georgian ceilings these days!
#8 Posted by Roysters on 3 Feb 2021 at 14:01 PM
Rach - Agree to disagree re tall ceilings, though your use of the word 'squeeze' tells a tale
#9 Posted by JohnMF on 5 Feb 2021 at 12:40 PM
The wee cottage is incongruous. Continuing the Georgian idiom, with 14 ft ceilings, etc, was not going to work, the value of the plot would be too high. So, the outcome with a clever disguise of the extra floor, seems the way to go.
The Elephant in the Room
#10 Posted by The Elephant in the Room on 5 Feb 2021 at 22:42 PM
It really, really isn't about the extra floor ! How people fail to notice what's happening I don not know. But here's a wee question for you : given that the plot of land was sized to take a single house, how on earth could they fit in a building containing 8 flats topped by a 9th flat ( a double storey penthouse ) and consisting of 19 double bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, 9 open plan kitchen/dining/living rooms, 20 storage cupboards 1 drawing room: a common stair, a lift and 2 rooftop terraces ? Well, the answer is they can't. To build this is not only about adding in another floor. At the rear of the building the block of flats will extend 6 meters out into the garden and will rise to the height of the eaves. In terms of bulk, that's the equivalent of around 8 x 20ft shipping containers piled next to and on top of each other. This extension will contain the equivalent of 6 double bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, hallway, stairwell and living room. It is a greedy and vulgar building. The penthouse suite grabs the space, light and views for itself. It will be over two floors and have two roof terraces and a panorama, floor to ceiling window the entire breadth of the building. The other 8 flats will be stuffed in below. Privacy, light and the character of the listed buildings and the Pilrig Conservation Area character are all compromised. This is not sustainable development. Environmentally and socially it fails completely. It is a missed opportunity to do something really worthwhile and exciting with that important corner site. I do not think the planners have truly grasped the scale of this building. If any of the houses in Pilrig St proposed adding an extension of this scale and proportion it would, quite rightly, get instantly rejected.
#11 Posted by KingKnut on 12 Feb 2021 at 19:35 PM
Although most of us would agree that living in high-ceilinged flats would be ideal, its not really economically practical. Additionally, a large part of reducing our energy consumption can be achieved by increasing the density of cities.

This project takes a very low density city site and dramatically increases it. The architect has clearly thought about the context and having read the design statement, the proposal seems in line with what we should be trying to achieve. The little house currently on the site is completely out of place and this would create a more intact and stronger streetscape.

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