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Mixed Edinburgh apartment/office build addresses home working trend

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October 11 2021

Mixed Edinburgh apartment/office build addresses home working trend

Square and Crescent, specialists in converting redundant commercial buildings into homes, have opened a virtual consultation for Finance House, Edinburgh.

Delivering a mix of 152 apartments and office/co-working space the plan would see a 1978 rear extension demolished in favour of a stepped residential development in response to the adjacent Learmouth Court, following a similar proposal for nearby Orchard Brae House.

An active travel route will connect Learmouth Gardens to Orchard Brae with Learmouth Crescent fully completed as envisaged in the 1950s before later development sliced the street in half. Perpendicular access to the busy main thoroughfare of Orchard Brae is also provided.

Dating from the 1960s Finance House is an eight-storey block occupying some 0.8 hectares of land with Morgan McDonnell Architects and RankinFraser landscape architects tasked with revitalising the vacant site. The team will retain the main eight-storey building, adding glazed chamfered extensions to the north and south to soften its impact.

A new build L-plan residential element to the rear will extend the current crescent with a variety of gardens, seating and play areas responding to a substantial level difference of up to 5m across the site including walls doubling as long benches and a central park for games and picnics.

Outlining their design strategy the applicants wrote: "... the proposal is conceived as an exercise in connectivity and re-activation of a site that is currently perceived as a volume isolated from its surroundings. The proposed split residential layout will greatly improve its permeability and will fill the gap of an urban context that is predominantly residential.

"A contemporary and dynamic facade with less horizontal expression will be installed to respond to the site and surroundings whilst upgrading the building to modern standards and to maximise the thermal insulation of the future flats."

An online interactive chat with the developers will take place on Wednesday, 13 October between 16:00 and 20:00. 

A flanking residential block will complete the street as an active travel route
A flanking residential block will complete the street as an active travel route
Evolving demand is seeing redundant office blocks repurposed to cater for smaller, more localised workforces
Evolving demand is seeing redundant office blocks repurposed to cater for smaller, more localised workforces

Learmouth Crescent has been chopped in half by Finance House
Learmouth Crescent has been chopped in half by Finance House
New chamfered extensions will soften the impact of the retained block finished in GRC cladding and bronze metal
New chamfered extensions will soften the impact of the retained block finished in GRC cladding and bronze metal

3 Comments

Craig Sanderson
#1 Posted by Craig Sanderson on 12 Oct 2021 at 15:35 PM
Good afternoon. New large developments must comprise 35% 'affordable' housing following the City of Edinburgh Council's adoption of its City Plan 2030.
And 70% of these 'affordable' homes should be for social housing.
Regards. Craig Sanderson, Edinburgh Poverty Commissioner.
Philip
#2 Posted by Philip on 13 Oct 2021 at 10:05 AM
Sooo heavy handed with materials and detail. It looks like it has been designed by a sketchup algorithm that has been digesting on standard commercial developments between 2010-2015.
Ok, it's a recycled job, but a bit of finesse and much less brown would help. That rear elevation of the main section is very oppressive...
JohnMF
#3 Posted by JohnMF on 15 Oct 2021 at 12:12 PM
The developers are so engaged with this site that they mis-spell, consistently, Learmonth as Learmouth. Who wrote this stuff?

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