Sugarhouse Close – Edinburgh | Sugarhouse Close Old Town

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Old Town Student Accommodation Buildings – design by Oberlanders Architects LLP

9 Oct 2012

Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh Old Town

Design: Oberlanders Architects LLP

Sugarhouse Close, Student Housing

160 Canongate and 41 49 and 53 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8DD

Summary: Oberlanders are proud to announce Sugarhouse Close (accommodation for 300 students) Design and Build project was successfully completed and handed over on Friday the 1st of September 2012, on programme and in time for the start of the academic year.

Sugarhouse Close prior to development:
Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh
photo from Oberlanders Architects LLP

The site lies in the historic centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town (within the Edinburgh World Heritage Site) with the development reusing all the historical Listed buildings of significance. The removal of a 1980’s experimental brewery building, previously cutting across the North side of the site, reinstates the historic context of a linear close of the medieval city grain and opens a new view to Arthurs Seat. The new pedestrian route from the Royal Mile through Sugarhouse Close to Bakehouse Close was formed with a new pend cut into the brick infill’s to the lowest floor of the ex-laboratory building facing onto Bakehouse Close.

Sugarhouse Close after to development:
Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh
photos from Oberlanders Architects LLP

The historic context informed the building heights, architectural language, scale and massing. The topography of the site is notable for being split into two distinct halves, north and south, with the northern half sitting around 7 metres higher than the south. Whilst the new buildings to the North were kept relatively low of masonry and timber, echoing the language of the historic fabric at Bakehouse Close, the buildings to the South, addressing Holyrood Road, are of a larger 6 storey scale in line with adjacent massing and clad predominantly in metal to reflect the industrial heritage of this area.

Detailed description:

In November 2010 Oberlanders secured planning consent under delegated powers for this mixed use, 300 bed student accommodation development for Watkin Jones and Sons Ltd, on a sensitive site embedded in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The project was one of the first Major Project planning applications to be processed through the new Planning Scotland Act Community Engagement and Consultation process. Through a series of site visits and presentations Oberlanders engaged with the Edinburgh Urban Design Panel, Historic Scotland, The Cockburn Association, local councillors and residents, gaining such encouragement and support for the design, it was allowed to be approved under Delegated powers.

Sugarhouse Close after to development:
Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh
photos from Oberlanders Architects LLP

The City of Edinburgh Council Planning Report stated: ‘The design of the site shows an excellent understanding of the historical development of the area and the buildings on the site. This has allowed the architects to create a scheme which is both sympathetic and dynamic, creating high quality urban design and architecture’.

The location takes its name from sugar refining which began on site in 1752. From 1868 it became home to the local Holyrood brewing industry which continued on site to the end of the 20th Century, latterly as an experimental brewing laboratory. The design retains a number of Listed buildings within the heart of the site which are made visible from a new Courtyard and Close, unlocking key routes and unseen vistas from The Royal Mile and Holyrood Road towards the historic Brewhouses and Kilns.

The North Side To enhance the ‘path-finding’ character of Edinburgh’s Old Town the proposal includes a new public processional route through the site, through the new pend created at Bakehouse Close from the Canongate, connecting to Sugarhouse Close, past the retained and refurbished Brewhouses with reinstated view on to Salisbury Craigs (through the removal of the central laboratory building, running perpendicular to the historic urban grain).

The scale and massing of the new build continues the historic precedent and context of closes leading north – south from the Canongate spine. Buildings are positioned and scaled to mask the existing and unsightly gables of the more recent Moray House additions and create an appropriate and contextual sense of enclosure, opening up to the historic fabric.

The South Side

Moray House remains the dominant element in the streetscape. The buildings re-instate the lost tenement footprints of the Clermiston their heights responding to the existing context and echoing the massing of the adjacent forms. The western gable adjacent Moray House responds to the robust pediment with a more rectangular, robust form, again echoing the adjacent context.

At ground level the splayed walls create a new welcoming public realm entrance space, providing temporary respite from the bustle of the City and Holyrood Road. The frameless glazing for walls and roof allows a view though the common room area, through the historic courtyard in juxtaposition with contemporary metal and glass cladding, to the face of the Listed Brewhouses above, remaining dominant in roofscape and massing.

The Eastern gable is given a sloping roof form, signalling the through route between when paired with the gable opposite Hammermen’s Entry. The corner glazing reflects the asymmetry of the existing building at the head Hammermen’s Entry as the focal point terminating the street.

The recently built boundary wall was reconfigured with new window openings and an access pend. Windows above are orientated to avoid overlooking and maintain privacy distances. The contemporary metal clad creates a distinctive industrial aesthetic leading to the historic core of the site, where existing buildings are reconfigured and refurbished.

Site area: 1 ACRE
Client: Watkin Jones & Sons Limited
Architect: Oberlanders Architects LLP
Structural Engineer: Will Rudd Davidson

Sugarhouse Close Development photos / information from Oberlanders Architects LLP

17 Nov 2010

Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh

Oberlanders Architects LLP have secured planning consent under delegated powers for a mixed use circa£15M development including 300 bed student accommodation for Watkin Jones and Sons Ltd, on a sensitive site embedded in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh

Located within the Edinburgh World Heritage Site and accessed from the Royal Mile, the proposal was one of the first Major Project planning applications to be processed through the new Planning Scotland Act, Community Engagement and Consultation process.

Oberlanders engaged with the Edinburgh Urban Design Panel, Historic Scotland, The Cockburn Association, local councillors and residents through a series of site visits and presentations.

The process led to a positive outcome of encouragement and support allowing the major application to be approved under Delegated powers.

“This outcome is testament to positive engagement with local people and interested parties (of which there are many within Edinburgh’s Old Town), together with pro-active and constructive dialogue with City of Edinburgh Council planning officials.”

Sugarhouse Close Sugarhouse Close Old Town Edinburgh Sugarhouse Close Old Town Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh Old Town

The City of Edinburgh Council Planning Report stated: ‘The design of the site shows an excellent understanding of the historical development of the area and the buildings on the site. This has allowed the architects to create a scheme which is both sympathetic and dynamic, creating high quality urban design and architecture’

The location takes its name from sugar refining which began on site in 1752. From 1868 it became home to the local Holyrood brewing industry which continued on site to the end of the 20th Century, latterly as an experimental brewing laboratory. The design proposals retain a number of Listed buildings within the heart of the site which are made visible from a new Courtyard and Close, unlocking key routes and unseen vistas from The Royal Mile and Holyrood Road towards the historic Brewhouses and Kilns.

Site start is December 2010 with completion in July 2012.

Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh images / information from Oberlanders Architects LLP



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Comments / photos for the Sugarhouse Close Edinburgh Old Town Architecture page welcome

Sugarhouse Close Old Town – page : adrian welch / isabelle lomholt

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