Inverleith Gardens, Edinburgh

The most common small project an architect can be asked to design is a garden room. In this instance the site is the rear of an Edwardian terraced house and we were able to persuade our client not to place it in the garden at all - but rather where a bathroom had been above the kitchen in order to see an extraordinary panorama of Edinburgh available only from this height.

The extremely limited space was amplified by incorporating into it the thickness of the stone walls. A window seat occupies the plan of one wall and is constructed out of 'stick on stick' timber construction cantilevered and expressed out from its base. A steel structure was attached to the exterior and this supports an overhanging lead roof leaving the south and west walls free to accommodate a system of sliding windows. The windows can be slid back on the exterior so that from inside they appear to disappear - and the room can consequently be transformed into a deep veranda.

Light is brought deep into the plan by a generous roof light running along the party wall and underneath is placed a 'secret staircase' for quick access to the kitchen below. This together with voids between the two spaces allows a conversation to be continued between the upstairs and downstairs. The wall to the existing staircase is cut to allow constant contact between this space and the new room and above a much larger staircase window was constructed to throw light deep into the plan of the existing house and through which it is now possible to see distant Edinburgh Castle.

The building was completed in 1991.

Other Details

Architects  Richard Murphy
Engineers  Ted Ruddock
Contractor  Inscape Joinery
Construction Cost £29,000
Client  Marion Blythman

Awards

1992 EAA Silver Medal Award
1992 RIBA Award

Press

February 2011 Designs On Winning Evening News
March 1998 Rear Of The Year Home Show Magazine
Autumn 1997 Room At The Bank Signet Magazine
June 1994 A Tale Of Three Cities Perspectives
13 March 1994 Economics Of Scale Sunday Times
29 March 1993 When An Extension Lends Enchantment To The View The Scotsman
8 January 1993 Extending A Town House In Edinburgh Bauwelt
18 November 1992 RIAS Obsessions At Scotbuild AJ Update
15 October 1992 Top Trio Bid For National Award Project Scotland
11 October 1992 Backroom Boys Winning Ways Scotland On Sunday
7 October 1992 RIBA Regional Awards AJ Digest
2 October 1992 Riba Names Regional Winners Building Design
20 May 1992 Rsa Summer Show AJ Review
1992 RIBA Awards RIBA Journal
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