Edinburgh College of Art refurbishment, ECA Buildings renewal news, Scottish university refurb architect

Edinburgh College of Art Refurbishment

ECA Gallery – design by Oliver Chapman Architects

4 December 2023

Green light for campus-wide refurbishment of Edinburgh College of Art

– The consented scheme will improve five existing Edinburgh College of Art buildings to align with the university’s ambition to be more outward-facing and inclusive, as well as to support an enhanced staff and student experience

– Proposed works will increase the university’s capacity through rationalising and consolidating key facilities, allowing for more flexible studio spaces and workshops

– The School of Music will be integrated with existing and new state of the art image and sound facilities to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and industry engagement

ECA Lauriston Place building view:
Edinburgh College of Art Refurbishment, ECA
image © Hawkins Brown

Edinburgh College of Art Buildings Refurbishment

Planning consent has been granted for a campus-wide development plan to consolidate and improve the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA)’s existing estate. This Hawkins\Brown-designed scheme will see five ECA buildings retrofitted to align with the university’s ambition of becoming more outward-facing, accessible and inclusive.

A key strategic move is to consolidate key facilities to allow more flexible teaching and studio spaces for students. This enables the university to increase its capacity and integrate the School of Music into the ECA campus to sit alongside existing disciplines and foster creative collaborations.

The Grade A-listed former Fire Station will be fully refurbished to create a range of workspaces for staff and to house digital making facilities and a material recycling hub, while being respectful of the character of the building. Adaptations will be made to the two other listed buildings to improve their operational efficiency.

The works will improve the buildings’ environmental performance: upgrading the thermal performance of the building envelopes, installing air source heat pumps in lieu of existing gas boilers as well as specifying energy-efficient fittings. Increased cycle facilities will encourage active travel, and the courtyard landscaping will enhance biodiversity.

These interventions represent ECA’s aims to cater to the ever-changing needs of university education as well as evolving cohort numbers.

Professor Juan Cruz, ECA Principal, said:

“We are delighted to have received planning permission for the development of Edinburgh College of Art. This marks a significant milestone in our journey, and we look forward to this transformative project that will not only enhance the landscape but also encourage creativity and collaboration across different fields, leading to a more innovative future for ECA.”

Campbell Metcalfe, Associate, Hawkins\Brown, said:
“We have been working with our clients at Edinburgh College of Art since the early briefing stages to understand the university’s strategic aims and how this translates into capital developments that will future proof their estate. Our proposals are carefully crafted to make the most of existing spaces while supporting the university to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus for students.”

About Hawkins\Brown

Hawkins\Brown is an architecture practice based in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Dublin and Los Angeles championing a collaborative, people-first approach to projects across a range of sectors. As one of the UK’s leading architects in the education sector, the practice has worked on academic and research buildings for institutions that include University College London, the University of Oxford and Leeds Beckett University.


30 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5PG


Previously on Edinburgh Architecture:

27 Oct 2010

Proposed New Gallery for Edinburgh College of Art

A brief description of Oliver Chapman Architects’ proposed new gallery for the Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh College of Art Gallery

The proposal recently secured planning permission and reached the final stage of the £3 million Arts Funding Prize for Edinburgh.

Edinburgh College of Art Gallery Edinburgh College of Art New Gallery ECA Gallery Edinburgh College of Art Gallery Proposal
images : Oliver Chapman Architects

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Edinburgh College of Art Edinburgh College of Art
photos © Adrian Welch

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