Completion Date: September 2015


Holyrood North, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
HarrisonStevens Limited

The Holyrood Project was developed to meet an unprecedented demand for postgraduate and overseas students travelling to study at the University of Edinburgh.  This demand was conceived to be met through a unique, locally sensitive and historically contextual response that is of global significance, taking inspiration from the adjacent volcanic landscape of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags.

Within an UNESCO world heritage site, the old town of Edinburgh is an iconic city scape. Natural light is a valuable design component in such a dense urban environment and it was used to enhance the sense of anticipation, drawing people into spaces & down closes. The constant reference of glimpse views between buildings towards familiar Edinburgh landmarks, provide reminders of context and orientation.

The characteristically tight grain and steeply stepped site of the old town was carefully considered so that where walls are needed to facilitate level changes, they are programmed to include a seating element, where steps travers a route, they are appropriately scaled to support incidental seating and congregation.

The re-use of site-won materials for the significant public realm walling need was a key consideration identified early in the scheme. Working with a local stone mason, down takings were re-purposed to provide the supporting context to the paving and other external elements and celebrated at the front of the site with the contemporary interpretation of the boundary walling to Holyrood Road. 

The University of Edinburgh is now able to reach out locally and globally, welcoming the world to a unique collegiate quarter, regenerated from a pocket of redundant land within the heart of the Old Town. Holyrood North has brought 900 new residents into the community, created new jobs and significantly contributed to the contemporary design within the legacy of Edinburgh’s Old Town. 

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