HMP Edinburgh Saughton Prison Visitor Centre building photo, Scottish architecture design extension, Reception, Uptilted roof

Saughton Visitor Centre, HMP Edinburgh

HMP Edinburgh Visitor Centre building design by Gareth Hoskins Architects, Glasgow, Scotland: RIBA Award winner.

post updated 7 November 2023

Location: 33 Stenhouse Road, Saughton, Edinburgh, southeast Scotland

Date built: 1999-2000

Design: Gareth Hoskins Architects, Glasgow

This Saughton Visitor Centre building creates a joyful and colourful environment for meetings between prisoners and their families.

Saughton Visitor Centre
HMP Edinbuirgh Visitor Centre building photo from Gareth Hoskins Architects

Saughton Prison Visitor Centre, HMP Edinburgh/h2>

Purpose-built reception building for prison visitors featuring cafe and children’s playroom

The reception at HM Prison Saugton allows the structural grid to provide more private waiting areas against a deeply modelled, timber-glazed wall. As well as flaring in plan, the café and waiting area’s roof opens up in a lazy yawn to the south, allowing light to penetrate deep into the interior.

The plan ultimately focuses on a children’s playroom, saturated in colour, and imaginatively detailed with lively fenestration and recessed soft play pit.

The served and the servant spaces also call out the inherent constructional strategy, with glulam roof members/steel composite columns to the former and load-bearing block domestic construction to the latter.

The first purpose-built reception building for prison visitors in Scotland was not a new concept for Gareth Hoskins Architects, which was already project architect for the Penoyre & Prasad’s Belmarsh Visitors’ Centre completed in 1996 at Belmarsh Prison, England.

Saughton Prison Visitor Centre Edinburgh – Building Information

Floor area: 468 sqm
Total cost: £800,872
Tender date: Feb 1999
Construction Start: Mar 1999
Construction Completion: Mar 2000

Main Building Materials:
Copper roof, Glulam beams, Liam McCafferty, Pine, Rubber floor, Steel frame

Professional Team:

Architect: Gareth Hoskins Architects
Project architects: Alex Flockhart, Gareth Hoskins, Jude Quarston
Client: The Onward Trust, HM Prison Edinburgh
Quantity surveyor: Davis Langdon & Everest
Planning supervisor: James Gentles & Son
Structural engineer: Arup


Steel frame: Pavo Steel
Glulam beams: Donaldson & McConnell Ltd
Copper roofing: A&J Roofting
Specialist joinery: Descant Joinery
Electrical: Forth Electrical Services
External works and ground works: Markon
Play area equipment and exterior play surface: SMP Playgrounds
Underfloor heating: Multibeton

Visitor Centre, HMP Edinburgh

Scottish Office (Prison Service) had plans granted for a £5m prison extension at HM Prison, 33 Stenhouse Road, Saughton, Edinburgh in July 2004. The contractor is Carillion Construction Ltd.

HMP Edinburgh, Saughton
Saughton Visitor Centre building image by David Churchill
The HMP Edinburgh thumbnail above does not link to a larger image – apologies.

Edinburgh Walking Tours

Also by Gareth Hoskins Architects: V&A Gallery, West Kensington, west London, England, UK.

Scottish Capital Building Designs

Contemporary Scottish Capital Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

Trinity Academy
Design: Holmes Miller Architects
Trinity Academy Edinburgh school building design
image courtesy of Holmes Miller
Trinity Academy Edinburgh secondary school building

Princes Street 347-bed hotel in Edinburgh
Princes Street Hotel Edinburgh city centre
building photo courtesy of Blackfinch Property
Princes Street Hotel Edinburgh City Centre

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Palm Houses Restoration
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Palm Houses Restoration

West Town Edinburgh 20-minute neighbourhood
West Town Edinburgh 20-minute neighbourhood

1 Broughton Market short term let apartments
1 Broughton Market short term let apartments

BMA Scotland HQ
Design: John Robertson Architects (JRA)
British Medical Association HQ Edinburgh

Comments / photos for the Saughton Visitor Centre Architecture design by Gareth Hoskins Architects, Glasgow, Scotland, at 33 Stenhouse Road, page welcome