Calton Square, Edinburgh Multiscreen, Vue Cinema, Location, Images, Architect

Calton Square – Baillie Gifford

Offices + Omni Edinburgh, Leith Street / Greenside Place

Calton Square Edinburgh

Leith Street (adj. Calton Hill), Edinburgh
2000-02
Allan Murray Architects

Calton Square (formerly Greenside Place) & omniedinburgh

Mixed-use Development in lea of Calton Hill

This site had lain empty for 40 years as the Council slugged it out with various developers. The last scheme was rejected by the planners for being too boring, but the completed building is far from dull.

The project comes in two parts: one – omniedinburgh – includes shops, restaurants, health club and a 12-screen cinema for Warner Village Cinemas; the other – Calton Square – is a massive office development, two-thirds of which the Baillie Gifford will occupy as its new headquarters. The last protective wrapping is due to be removed October 2002.

Calton Square Edinburgh – approx. build cost: £45m

Calton Square
picture © Adrian Welch

Calton Square + Omni Edinburgh, Leith Street
24.04.02
Allan Murray Architects PR

“Allan Murray Architects’ designs for an ambitious £100 million mixed-use development at Greenside Place in Edinburgh’s city centre are now being realised and are due for completion this summer.

The site was the last large gap site in Edinburgh’s east end and has been the subject of a number of aborted proposals over the past forty years (including a new headquarters for BBC Scotland). Allan Murray Architects were selected in 1998 following an invited international architectural competition, whose entrants included the Richard Rogers Partnership (London), Page + Park (Glasgow) and Weintraub De Stefano (Chicago). The practice confounded the client’s expectations of what was originally proposed by extending the parameters of the site and reconfiguring the relationship between the office and the leisure buildings. They were commissioned to develop these initial proposals and planning consent was successfully secured for this extremely sensitive site within Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.

Calton Square omniedinburgh Calton Square Greenside Place, Edinburgh
pictures © Adrian Welch

The architect’s detailed urban analysis of the site generated two distinct buildings comprising the Leisure Building (which includes a five-star hotel, health + fitness clubs and a 12 screen multiplex cinema) and a flagship office building, separated by a new urban square. This new square breaks down the scale of the overall development and affords an uninterrupted view up to the monuments on Calton Hill. Allan Murray Architects are acting as the master planner for the whole site and project architect for the office development for Pillar Properties.

The offices, called Calton Square, total 190,000 sq ft and have been 80% pre-let to Baillie Gifford. The design maximises the potential of the awkward wedge-shaped plot at the southern end of the site, whilst being respectful of its location within the city. The design responds to the location’s unique urban character and relates to the massing of the surrounding buildings, the superb views out from the site and the client¹s desire to create a ‘landmark’ building. The strategy offers flexibility and efficiency, with large open plan floor plates, yet creates some excitement and drama for the streetscape by avoiding blank, visually’ inactive walls. A variety of glazing systems are employed and provide a rich mix of framed views and urban markers.

The structural grid for the buildings spring from the existing car park structure but a transfer slab was constructed to increase flexibility. Construction work started in late 2000 and the mass of the new office building echoes the scale of the former tenements on Leith Street (demolished in the 1960’s) but steps down to the east as it follows the valley along the flank of Calton Hill. The roofscape with its landscaped terraces gives the building a unique ‘fifth’ elevation when viewed from the elevated position of Calton Hill.
The eight storey elliptical tower at the south end acts as an urban marker for the project and responds to the Balmoral Hotel¹s massive 58m high clocktower. The tower is clad in curved glass with a facetted inner skin which will act as a thermal flue and form part of the environmental control strategy. The tower steps back at the eighth floor to create a dramatic rooftop terrace. The elevations respond to the context of the city and employ Stancliffe sandstone and Jura limestone. However, the extensive areas of curtain wall glazing help to create a bold, modernist statement that engages, but does not mimic, the historic urban character”.
Omni: omniedinburgh, Greenside Place, Edinburgh

Calton Square Edinburgh Greenside Place Leith Street
pictures © Adrian Welch

Allan Murray Architects – Building PR
Calton Square + Omni, Leith Street, Edinburgh
18.11.02

Edinburgh’s most high profile cinema complex has just opened following a gala premiere of ‘Harry Potter II’. This represents a key component in Allan Murray Architects’ ambitious design for this £73 million mixed-use development at Greenside Place in Edinburgh’s city centre.

The leisure building, called ‘Omni’, includes a five-star hotel, a health + fitness club, a variety of bars and restaurants as well as a Warner Village 12 screen multiplex cinema. The hotel wraps round an expansive rooftop garden and gives the building a unique ‘fifth’ elevation when viewed from the elevated position of Calton Hill. Allan Murray Architects’ detailed urban analysis of the site generated two distinct buildings and the practice was retained as master planner for the whole site as well as project architect for ‘Calton Square’, the 190,000 sq ft flagship office development for Pillar Properties plc and Parlison Properties Limited. The two buildings are separated by a new square which breaks down the scale of the overall development and affords an uninterrupted view up to the monuments on Calton Hill.

The design responds to the location’s unique urban character and relates to the massing of the surrounding buildings, the superb views out from the site and the client’s desire to create a ‘landmark’ building. The structural grid for the buildings spring from the existing car park structure and a transfer slab was constructed to increase flexibility. Construction work started in November 2000 and the mass of the new buildings echo the scale of the former tenements on Leith Street (demolished in the 1960’s).

greenside place Calton Square, Edinburgh Calton Hill omniedinburgh
images from Allan Murray Architects

The elevations respond to the context of the city and employ Stancliffe sandstone (from Derbyshire) and Jura limestone (from southern Germany). However, the extensive areas of curtain wall glazing help to create a bold, modernist statement that engages, but does not mimic, the historic urban character. Perhaps the most distinctive element of the scheme is the eight storey, oval-shaped corner tower at the ‘prow’ of the site. It is fully glazed and cold cathode lighting has been employed by consultants Arup Lighting to heighten the drama and ensure its 24 hour presence.
The site was the last large gap site in Edinburgh’s east end and has been the subject of a number of aborted proposals over the past forty years (including a new headquarters for BBC Scotland). Allan Murray Architects were selected in 1998 following an invited international architectural competition, whose entrants included the Richard Rogers Partnership (London), Page + Park (Glasgow) and Weintraub De Stefano (Chicago). The practice confounded the client’s expectations of what was originally proposed by extending the parameters of the site and reconfiguring the relationship between the office and the leisure buildings. They were commissioned to develop these initial proposals and planning consent was successfully secured for this extremely sensitive location within Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.

Selected Subcobtractors/Suppliers:
Sandstone: Stirling Stone
Limestone: Max Balz
Zinc Roofing: Varla
Glazing: MAG Hansen
Project Architect: Douglas Fraser

Baillie Gifford Edinburgh Headquarters: Calton Square 1 Greenside Row Edinburgh

The Glasshouse

The Glasshouse Hotel is the latest addition to The Eton Group’s portfolio and occupies the 5th/6th floors of the Ormi Leisure Complex which is a new development at the foot of Carlton Hill just a few minutes’ walk from Princes Street.

Entrance to the hotel is through an impressive church façade which reveals an ultra modern interior with contemporary designed rooms and suites all of which have views either over the city or the Calton Hill Folly. Most rooms at The Glasshouse have their own patios or terraces and the hotel also has the added attraction of a rooftop garden.

Contact Baillie Gifford Edinburgh: + 44 (0) 131 275 2000

A bridge by Broadway Malyan at the west end of Calton Square building across to the St James Centre:
Calton Square

Omni Edinburgh has been criticised by the public and architecture critics alike for being too much of a shop window for the cinema and for being to harsh as a highly-commercial facade to Picardy Place and foreground to Calton Hill.




Hotel Missoni

St James Centre – opposite Calton Square

Calton Gate

Scottish Architecture

Edinburgh Tours : Architecture Walking Tours




Adjacent Buildings / Structures:
Omni Edinburgh
Leith Street Bridge by Broadway Malyan
John Lewis Edinburgh
St James Centre

Jenners

Scottish Parliament

RBS Gogarburn

Calton Road Flats

Buildings / photos for the Calton Square Architecture pages welcome:
info@edinburgharchitecture.co.uk

Vue Cinema Edinburgh Buildings : page – adrian welch / isabelle lomholt