Quirky low-budget Edinburgh Old Town housing with a contemporary twist.
The Masterplanner stipulated that this building be both a 'Talisman' for the area and Housing Association flats, hard to achieve within budget constraints of Scottish Homes' grants system. The 'tower house' design evolved out of both the tight width, height and overlooking restrictions and the Edinburgh Old Town context of asymmetry, exposed staircases, exuberant roofs and galleried windows.
Old Town Housing: Canongate image from Richard Murphy Architects
This five-storey building for the Old Town Housing Association (three doors up) has a glazed shopfront at the base with red-coloured render for stairs to the left (sliding behind a square layer of glass blocks), with white render above for the flats.
The phrase sculpted in curvy metal above the shopfront was added by the Old Town Housing Association after completion. At the top of the front façade the building jetties out in three unequal sections, clad in horizontal wood boarding. Asymmetry is produced from varying materials - such as small mesh panels - scale, and details. In summary the frontage has a quirky Old Town feel; it doesn't shout but it also isn't overly polite.