The Exchange business masterplan, Office building photos, Architect, Property project design

The Exchange Edinburgh Architecture

Financial District property off Lothian Road / Morrison Street, Scotland, UK

post updated 28 July 2023

View looking west over Usher Hall to drum of EICC:
EICC Building
image courtesy of architects practice

The Exchange Edinburgh CBD

Terry Farrell & Partners were the architects for The Exchange & EICC, Lothian Road

The Exchange
Standard Life Edinburgh aerial image from Michael Laird Architects

Saltire Court, Castle Terrace
Date built: 1991
Design: Campbell & Arnott Architects
Saltire Court
Saltire Court

Turn left up Lothian Road and then right onto Morrison Street: head West, past the £11m Edinburgh One, completed late 2000, by Hurd Rolland on your right:

Edinburgh One

This whole area, entitled ‘The Exchange’ is a former Goods Yard for the railway terminating behind the Caledonian Hotel masterplanned by Terry Farrell & Partners.

The Exchange - Sean Gallagher
The Exchange aerial photo © Sean Gallagher

There are two Squares grounding the scheme – Festival Square, and the later Conference Square to the West. The former Square is spartan and overly formal, not helped by the dull builidings surrounding it, especially the Sheraton Hotel. The latter Square has a more organic shape (largely set by the curved Western Approach Road) and could be a good space.

The expanse of messy car parking to the south onto Morrison Street needs to be deleted before any real sense of quality urbanism is created here: the site of EICC Extension, starting on site 2007.

Scottish Widows, Port Hamilton, 69 Morrison Street
Date built: 1998
Architect: Building Design Partnership (BDP)
Scottish Widows building
Headquarters building on land from former terminal of Union Canal.
Scottish Widows

Rogues’, Morrison Street
Dates built: 2000-01 – now closed
Design: LWD Designers
The Exchange restaurant
Small offbeat contemporary restaurant: rogues restaurant

Cross the road to the north side of Morrison Street:

Edinburgh International Conference Centre, (EICC) Morrison Street
Dates built: 1994-95
Design: Terry Farrell & Co.
Edinburgh Conference Centre
The Exchange, Edinburgh: EICC The Exchange

Sheraton Hotel Health Club, Conference Square
Date built: 2000
Design: Terry Farrell & Co.

At last a bit of colour in this dreary part of Edinburgh: a slim rectilinear building with timber boarding and blue panels. The upper curved section contains a pleinair spa pool. The dull slab of an end elevation sits uncomfortably next to the intrepid articluation of the front, western facade. The Sheraton Hotel Health Club building needs the spaces around it at The Exchange to be rationalised before it can be fully understood:

Lothian Road, Edinburgh
thumbnail photo © David Churchill

The Santini restaurant on the ground floor is rather pedestrian compared to the spa context.

Standard Life, Lothian Road
Michael Laird Partnership
Standard Life Edinburgh
Standard Life Assurance Building image by Henk Snoek, provided by MLA

The Exchange Edinburgh
sorry, no larger image

Terry Farrell intervention on BDP’s EICC extension scheme for CEC:

“Terry Farrell has personally intervened on a £26million Building Design Partnership (BDP) scheme to extend his Edinburgh International Conference Centre, causing the practice to substantially alter the scheme. Farrell intervened to reduce the scale and height of the scheme because of fears that the EICC Extension would clash with his original design.

Duncan Whatmore, director of Farrell’s Edinburgh office, said the changes were made to ensure the extension “was sympathetic to the geometry of the orignial building”.

The move has cost the client Edinburgh council an estimated £60,000 in extra fees as BDP had had to reconfigure the layout and operation of the complex extension.

The majority of BDP’s 2,000 sqm extension is underground, but Farrell was concerned that the proposed glass atrium entrance to the complex above ground would break with the style of his surrounding masterplan for the 4.2ha Exchange site in west central Edinburgh.

Graham McClements, director at BDP, told BD that Farrell was concerned “over the link between his building and our building. They have to be separate in the way they are read”.

Ruth MacDonald, senior surveyor for Edinburgh council, said: “Initially, we had plans for a large structure, but once we spoke to Terry Farrell we scaled it down quite a lot to keep it down to ground-floor level. It was a difficult job as we have to make it add up financially in terms of office space”.

Farrell was able to force BDP to reduce the scale of the scheme because he drew up the original masterplan for the Exchange site and Edinburgh council officials look for his approval before they grant planning permission for any scheme on the site.

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is considered the centrepiece of the Exchange masterplan, but Edinburgh council wants to extend the complex in order to keep pace with international competition and to increase profits.

The extension, which will double the size of the conference centre, is being funded by selling the air rights above the complex for upmarket office buildings. Edinburgh council is expected to come to a decision over the preferred developer from a shortlist of six by the end of the month.”

Lothian Road Building Designs

Contemporary Lothian Road Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

Exchange Tower

EICC Extension – The Exchange Expansion

Edinburgh Architectural Tours

Scottish Capital Building Designs

Scottish Capital Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

West Town Edinburgh 20-minute neighbourhood
West Town Edinburgh 20-minute neighbourhood
image courtesy of West Town Edinburgh Ltd
West Town Edinburgh 20-minute neighbourhood

1 Broughton Market short term let apartments
1 Broughton Market short term let apartments, Edinburgh
image courtesy of architects office
1 Broughton Market short term let apartments

New Town Harvey Nichols

Comments / photos for The Exchange Edinburgh Architecture page welcome