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Awards: Scottish Design Award (2000) 'Best Regeneration Project', Conservation Medal (1999) Edinburgh Architectural Association.
Previously a very prominent redundant Church, the project was conceived by the Practice, who carried out detailed research and found both methods of raising enabling funding and a new use for this building. The Scheme very successfully resolves a mixture of physical, historical, economic, programming, acoustic and artistic constraints.
A beautiful front door leads to the main public facilities, including a popular café and Festival box office, with the main Hall and other conference facilities on the floor above, accessed from a grand central stair. A seven storey lift has been almost invisibly inserted for access to all floors, and services have been cleverly integrated. The insertion of offices into the roof structure was a vital element in the ability to adapt the building, requiring timber engineering of an exceptional standard to accommodate modern office loadings.
Externally, a programme of conservative repairs included rare zinc came windows, as well as stonework and re-roofing, incorporating specially designed ventilation details.
Working with artists and integrating contemporary art and craft works was a hallmark of the project, applied with a thorough understanding of the history of the building. The planning issues, internally and externally, were overcome with imagination, including difficult problems of integration of services and the provision of excellent acoustics. The project also included all interior design, furnishings and selection of furniture.
The building has now entered into the popular imagination, and has received several awards.
A short video clip by Caroline Scott can be accessed here