Housing \ The Canongate, Edinburgh

The building sits on the site of the former archway to the Holyrood Brewery on the south side of the Canongate. The design makes reference to buildings of the Old Town which have to a large extent disappeared and been replaced with Georgian and Victorian successors; in particular, colonnades at ground floor level, external staircases, windows frequently arranged as horizontal galleries, and an ad-hoc quality to their general appearance. Their upper stories, often cantilevered, were frequently of timber with a roof top profile of "roofed rooms" (like small independent buildings on the roof line). We have made reference to each of these characteristics in the design, but in a contemporary way.

The constraints on the site are the view from the Canongate to the new Scottish Poetry Library and the need to preserve the issue of privacy between the flats and the existing flats to the western side. The opportunities are the stunning views of Sailsbury Crags to the south and a chance to make a contemporary addition to the heterogeneous development of the Royal Mile.

The geometry of the plot forms an acute angle between front and side elevations allowing the orthogonal cantilevers to progressively jut onto the street. The top flat with views in all directions and generous roof glazing is particularly spectacular.

The project was completed in 1999.

Architects Richard Murphy, William Tunnel
Contractor Rollos Ltd
Colour Consultant Linda Green, Studio Green
Construction Cost £350,000
Client Old Town Housing Association


2000 Saltire Society Housing Design Award


March 2001 Meeting Need Builder And Engineer
February 2001 Urban Design - Model Home Builder And Engineer
March 2000 Cheers And Jeers Planning
16-23 December 1999 Medieval Housing Associations Architects' Journal
December 1999 New Into Old : Old Into New Arca Issue No. 3
9 November 1999 Just Because You're Building On Site Steeped In History The Scotsman
25 Novenber 1999 A Grand Design Evening News
1999 Old Town Housing Association Ltd. Annual Report
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