It would be the first public use of the building since 2006 when a tour company which had a lease with the council was ousted to make way for a refurbishment that never materialised due to funding issues. The £2.2m planned overhaul of the building would have seen the creation of a performance and events space, a permanent exhibition charting the history of the site.
Around £60,000 will be spent by Drambuie on temporary flooring in the 100-capacity venue to protect the only known remains of Marlin's Wynd, which used to link the Royal Mile to the Cowgate. Part of the floor will be glazed to allow festival-goers to see the historic remains, which include old shops, tenements and cobblestones unearthed by the most recent dig, in 2007.
Proposed Redevelopment of the Tron Kirk and Hunter Square by RMJM
Scottish architects RMJM are currently working closely with Edinburgh City Council's Property development team on the proposed £1m redevelopment of the historic Tron Kirk on Edinburgh's Royal Mile and the adjacent Hunter Square.
Tron Kirk project : image from RMJM
The practice's design proposals for the redevelopment of the Tron Kirk explore the feasability of inserting catering facilities into the building, adding to the current use of visitor centre and exhibition space. This proposal will maximise the use of the Tron Kirk space and provide the potential to bring new life to Hunter Square, a rare south-facing space in the heart of the Old Town.
The proposal features the relocation of the public toilets on Hunter Square and replacing them with kitchen functions linked at low level to the Tron Kirk. This will permit the provision of catering within the building to Hunter Square with minimal impact on the historic fabric of the building or the external landscape works that took place several years ago.
The potential uses for the building following redevelopment are the following:-
• Visitor Centre
• Archaeology exhibition
• Temporary exhibition centre
• Performance venue
• Cabaret club
• Function space for weddings, conferences etc.
RMJM's design proposals will provide a flexible space which will suit all of these functions. If all of these functions occurred within the building at various times of the day, therefore maximising its use, opening hours could be from 9am to 11pm.
RMJM's proposals for Hunter Square aim to revive one of Edinburgh's most under utilised spaces, which is currently abused and uninviting to visitors. Our proposal involves using the space as an extension to the proposed internal uses for the Kirk and provide a clear outdoor performance space.
The concept defines the edge of the square through the use of 3 pieces of contemporary sculpture, which give a sense of enclosure to the space. These sculptures are uncompromisingly modern in terms of form and materials, but will relate to the Kirk in their symbolic expression. They are designed to lean towards the Kirk without actually touching it, thus creating a dialogue between two periods in history.
The sculptures have a further functional use beyond their aesthetic form, which is to provide cover to the square so its use may be maximised throughout the year. The freestanding sculptures will have a rolled canopy constructed at their base, similar to a roller shutter door, which will extend vertically and then horizontally to a horizontal position 5 metres above the ground. This will offer shade from the elements.
Tron Kirk / Hunter Square - RMJM Architects: information Jan 09 2005