Caltongate Edinburgh Alternative News, Architect, Development Photo, Design Picture

Caltongate Edinburgh

New Street Bus Station Redevelopment by Mountgrange Capital

22 Mar 2010

Caltongate Alternative

ANTA architecture propose an alternative scheme for this hugely controversial site

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images from architect

Caltongate Development News

‘Caltongate’ is one of the most important vacant sites in the City of Edinburgh. The way in which the site will ultimately be developed and occupied will permanently affect the character and functioning of a significant part of the Old Town and have a wider impact on the city. In this context and to stimulate new thinking over the future of the site, Anta Architecture has drawn up an alternative vision – a framework that is adaptable, flexible and closely informed by the urban and architectural patterns that have made Edinburgh one of the most attractive and recognisable cities in the world.

Our proposal is similar to the previous scheme only in terms of overall capacity (floor area). New urban spaces are well defined and enclosed by active frontages, located within a varied and permeable network of pedestrian-friendly streets and wynds.
Each urban block is conceived as a building group rather than as single large footprints, which gives the flexibility to develop plots either individually or in combination. The land uses illustrated are indicative only and a wide range of activities and requirements can be mixed in close proximity, taking advantage of subtle distinctions across the site.

Arcades provide a unifying element at street level around the main public square. These were once a characteristic feature of the Royal Mile, though only fragments remain today. The Caltongate site has the potential to give a unique sense of the shelter and vitality that the arcades were once famous for, where shops, restaurants and bars will naturally flourish. Many of Edinburgh’s most celebrated thoroughfares have terminated vistas and the central street of the proposal, which also has arcaded sections, is aligned with the powerful feature of Nelson’s Monument on Calton Hill.

The site occupies the foreground in views towards the Old Town and Arthur’s Seat from Calton Hill. Each new block is given a varied roof treatment that will ensure that these prospects are enhanced by the development. This also provides an opportunity to create unique spaces and distinctive features within the upper levels.

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The architectural treatment proposed is colourful and traditional with a pallet of simple materials and repeatable elements, similar to the work of Begg, Hurd, and Spence in the High St. A number of different architects working collaboratively within an agreed template or building code can achieve a degree of variety whilst ensuring harmony and continuity across the site, with controlled contrasts and juxtapositions.

Over the past two years conventional models of speculative development have been fundamentally challenged by global economics, and proposals for many large sites are being redrawn in favour of more varied development plots and building types, according to principles of sustainable, traditional urbanism.

It is hoped that this alternative proposal may help to encourage a new spirit of collaboration between citizens, investors and future occupants. Whilst uncertainty remains over the future of the site, we have a collective responsibility to continue visioning how we might best extend the creative life of the city into this urban vacuum, and rise to the challenge of completing one of Edinburgh’s last great pieces of empty canvas.

Contact: ANTA Architecture, Fearn, Tain, Ross – T 01862 850 100

Calton Gate : main page with images on the previous development
Caltongate development site
image © Adrian Welch

Caltongate Project – News Update
UNESCO inspectors’ report demands the council review the whole Caltongate development according to The Scotsman. UNESCO inspectors are reportedly demanding a reprieve for two listed buildings threatened with demolition, removal of the new building on Jeffrey Street, and a full review of how the development would impact on views from Calton Hill. With the developer in administration the city council is now under intense pressure to react, as they retain ownership of the land designated for the hotel. 6 Jun 2009

Caltongate Development

Caltongate News Update 2009
Royal Mile photo
photo © Adrian Welch
Taskforce, led by Save Our Old Town, set up to rejuvenate empty buildings and landscape vacant space left by the collapse of developers Mountgrange. 4 Apr 2009

Mountgrange Capital News Update
The developers Mountgrange Capital have gone into administration. 23 Mar 2009

Approval – News Update
Approved by Ministers Sep 2008 – no Public Enquiry
Caltongate Caltongate Edinburgh Caltongate buildings Caltongate Edinburgh design
pictures from developers

Caltongate Architects
Allan Murray Architects – masterplan
Allan Murray Architects + CDA – main section
RHWL + PagePark – hotel
Malcolm Fraser Architects – Jeffrey Street and/or Leith Wynd building
Zone Architects – Market Street Arches

Caltongate Context Photographs on Royal Mile from Oct 2008:
Caltongate existing buildings Royal Mile buildings Royal Mile property High Street building
images © Adrian Welch

Caltongate Problems
As developments in the capital grind to a halt and architects lay off staff the latest casualty is the major Caltongate scheme. A “procedural mistake” has been made by the planning department. Aug 2008
Caltongate aerial
image from Mountgrange

UNESCO / Caltongate – News Update Jul 2008
Like the IOC and the European Commission, UNESCO is an undemocratic body that wields immense power. Apparently the Government’s decision not to call the Caltongate plans in has made Unesco want to review the city’s world heritage status: they will send a mission to Edinburgh, in particular to the Caltongate development

Caltongate Approved
Caltongate proposals approved, but to be referred to Scottish ministers + demolition of Canongate tenements unapproved. Controversial meeting lasted until after 7pm
Caltongate design
image from Mountgrange

Caltongate News Update
Caltongate view Caltongate sketch Caltongate proposal
images from Mountgrange

James Simpson condemned the Caltongate project, saying it would damage Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. James Simpson said demolishing the tenement would be against policies and guidance of Historic Scotland and the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust. 30 Aug 2007

Caltongate – Malcolm Fraser Architects’ proposals
View looking east along Market Street with Jeffrey Street above, right:
Jeffrey St building Market Street design
images from developers

Edinburgh’s new city council leader describes latest Caltongate proposals for the site between Jeffrey St and Market St as ‘grotesque and hideous…pretty gross’. It’s not only Jenny Dawe that seems hot and bothered: vitriolic comments (some clearly crazy) abound on the Evening News forum as the Anti-Caltongate campaign seems to gain yet more strength. It seems like the whole debate that erupted re Allan Murray Architects’ proposals for this site (for EDI) has reignited. 220507

Caltongate project context : Edinburgh City Council HQ

New St Bus Depot – Competition
Winners announced Mar 2005
New St Bus Station
New Street Edinburgh image © Adrian Welch

CDA – with Allan Murray Architects – competition win for New St Bus Station redevelopment announced at last: £150m scheme for Mountgrange Capital. The proposal replaces previous Gensler / Hackland & Dore Calton Gate scheme for Cuckfield

New Street Edinburgh
Nov 2005
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images from developers

North Canongate Infant School is listed, known as Canongate Venture these days, built by Robert Wilson 1900-01. Also listed: 221-227 Canongate 1930’s tenements, part of the pioneering work at 221-229 Canongate by E J MacRae.
Canongate Community Forum’s Save Our Old Town campaign:”.

Designers working on the project:



PagePark Architects

Malcolm Fraser Architects

Zone Architects – Zone Studio

Edinburgh Old Town

Calton Gate – Gensler Architects
£100m mixed-use development, New Street, Edinburgh
Calton Gate, Edinburgh
redevelopment image from Gensler Architects
Caltongate : previous proposals

Calton Road buildings context

Caltongate masterplan architects : Allan Murray Architects

Edinburgh Walking Tours : Architecture Walking Tours

Scottish Capital Building Designs

Contemporary Scottish Capital Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

Hotel Missoni Edinburgh


Meadowbank Stadium

Leith Docks

Calton Square

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
image © Adrian Welch

Calton Hill

Comments / photos for the Caltongate Development Architecture Edinburgh page welcome