Macmillan Centre and North Edinburgh Arts

Planning application expected 2021

This project has two clients and four distinct user groups.  North Edinburgh Arts, a charity operating from a purpose designed building containing cafe, studios theatre etc. and a large early learning centre for nursery school age children, a branch library and eight apartments. These last three elements have the City of Edinburgh Council as client.

The overall project has seized on the idea of synergy between the library, early learning centre and the arts building so that users of each are encouraged to use all of the facilities with the thresholds between each section deliberately blurred. Indeed, there is a common entrance and foyer facing onto the recently created Macmillan Square.

The arts centre is to be reorganised so that the cafe sits at the front and becomes a social hub for the entire building. A diagonal sightline connects it to the garden and all of the ground floor with new and existing studios etc. More offices are provided on the upper floor. The library is a single double height space with books at the lower level and a skills base above. It shares a staff room with the early learning centre and offices with the arts centre. Large double height windows facing on to the square give views to the left of the arts centre and to the right of the library. The cafe is expected to colonise the entrance area outside in summer.

The early learning centre consists of six classrooms and a baby's centre on two floors. The building is organised around a circular cloistered courtyard to give as much space as possible to arrivals and departures. Multipurpose spaces are available to both the early learning centre and the community in the evening.

Eight apartments on the second and third floors mark the corner between Muirhouse Crescent and Macmillan Square and are accessed from the north elevation. Their living spaces all  face south.

A planning application is expected early in 2021.

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