Clocktower Edinburgh, Whiteburn, Holyrood Architecture, The Tun, Image

Clocktower Edinburgh Building

The Clocktower refurbishment, Holyrood Rd by Allan Murray Architects

Clocktower Edinburgh

Holyrood North Site Project by Whiteburn: Clocktower Piazza

The Clock Tower refurbishment, Holyrood Rd, Old Town, Edinburgh
Date of renewal: 2003-05
Design: Allan Murray Architects

The Tun
image from Allan Murray Architects

Planning Permission & Building Warrant for the Clocktower was granted May 2003; started on site Aug 03

Holyrood North Site Project, Whiteburn, Clocktower Piazza
Clocktower Piazza
Clock Tower, Edinburgh: image Dec 2005 © Adrian Welch

Whiteburn: Clocktower Building information

Holyrood North Site Celebrates 10 years of success.
A ceremony is taking place today to mark ten years since the commencement of the redevelopment of the Holyrood North Site, with the official unveiling of a poem by Edinburgh’s first appointed Makar, Stewart Conn. The poem celebrates the transformation of the former brewery site and is dedicated to the late Sir Alick Rankin who, as chairman of Scottish + Newcastle Plc in the early 1990’s, was the driving force behind the establishment of the Holyrood Brewery Foundation, which kick-started this renaissance.

Clock Tower, Edinburgh: photo © Adrian Welch

Stewart Conn’s couplets have been laser cut into stainless steel
chequer-plate at the apron of the new Clocktower piazza next to The Tun on Holyrood Road. Sir Alick’s widow Lady Rankin will unveil the Makar’s words at noon to an invited gathering of those who have contributed to and benefited from this acclaimed regeneration project.

Clocktower Edinburgh: photo © Adrian Welch

A development competition instigated by Dynamic Earth Charitable Trust (the development vehicle created by the Foundation) was won by Development Services Partnership (DSP) in late 1993, since when the 5 acre site has been selectively demolished, landscaped and re-constructed by a variety of developers and end users, under John C Hope’s sensitive masterplan.

This has resulted in an eclectic mix of housing, hotels and other buildings, both new and refurbished – many of which have won awards – and which are now home to a plethora of new commercial, cultural, retail and leisure users, such as BBC Scotland, Royal Fine Arts Commission for Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library and the British Council.

Frank Spratt, DSP’s Managing Director notes that: “The Holyrood North Site Project has been a major part of my life since late 1992. However DSP would never have has this opportunity without the character and vision of Sir Alick Rankin.”

John Shepherd, developer of The Tun and the Clocktower, is hosting today’s event and enthused that: “Stewart Conn seemed the obvious choice, but when we met here last October I think he was a little nervous about what lay ahead, never having been asked to write an ode to a building site before! I hope all will agree he has been more than equal to the task.”

Sir Alick Rankin CBE
Chairman, Scottish & Newcastle plc (1989-97)

Inspired and spurred by one man’s aspiration,
a shared vision brought about this transformation.
Look around and up: hear a music not of the spheres
but of diverse patterns, startling prisms and squares
clear against the sky; a fusion of shapes and colours,
opacity and transparency, harmonious in all weathers.
From veiled glass screen and craggy crenellations
to corbels, skews, bold projections and elevations
this fanfare of styles, in a burst of regeneration,
sets Past and Present at the hub of City and Nation.
Stewart Conn, Edinburgh Makar – 2003

Edinburgh Clocktower – information issued by Whiteburn 25/03/04

News excerpt re The Clocktower, Edinburgh:

The Clocktower, Holyrood, Edinburgh
The Clocktower project has now received Planning Permission & Building Warrant and will start on site shortly.

This important regeneration project forms a key part of the Holyrood North Site masterplan and utilizes of the last surviving fragment of the original S+N brewery complex. The conversion of this redundant building acts as a suitable foil for the adjacent Tun building; indeed, both projects share the same client and Design Team. New accommodation includes a unique loft apartment, a restaurant and an expansive urban piazza.

The distinctive south elevation of the Clocktower (S+N’s original Yeast House) employs large stone crenellations in faux mediaeval style which are grafted on to a red brick industrial box. The proposals respect the eccentricities and fundamental symmetry of the original building and helps reinforce its role as an urban marker for the entire site.

‘Pizza Express’ will occupy the ground and first floor, although a large section of the first floor is to be demolished to create a dramatic double-height space overlooking the new public square. Views into and out of the restaurant are enhanced by the introduction of new glazed box (following the part removal of the existing random rubble stone wall).

This transparent element is then wrapped by a stainless steel mesh ‘veil’ which reduces solar gain and blurs the boundary between inside and outside (especially at night). During the summer months tables + chairs will occupy part of the new public square and help animate this space.

A new stair provides access to the Loft apartment which has a huge, south-facing roof deck with exceptional views up to Salisbury Crags. The scheme reintroduces the original clock face together with a porthole window which serves the new apartment.

External materials include pre-weathered zinc and render which are wholly appropriate to the robust nature of the original building. The new piazza also employs quality finishes (Caithness slabs, granite cubes, etc.) throughout and is barrier free. It will include a new public art element to commemorate those key figures behind the Holyrood North Site project.

The Clocktower, Edinburgh – Building Information

Completion: 2003
Shell Costs: £525k
Project Architect: Mark Cousins
Client: Whiteburn Holyrood Ltd
Architects: Allan Murray Architects
Quantity Surveyors: CBA
Structural, M + E Engineers & P. Supervisor: Arup Scotland

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