Frank Spratt Limited, the overall developer for the Holyrood competition site off the Royal Mile, approached the office to convert a disused derelict brewery warehouse for his own office and for offices for the Royal Fine Art Commission, who had previously been housed in a town house in Atholl Crescent. The derelict building consisted of two cast iron and stone buildings next to each other, one two-storey and the other three-storey. The design placed Frank Spratt's own offices on the second floor of the three storey section reserving the ground and first floor entirely for the use of the Royal Fine Art Commission.

The commissioners' accommodation was quite demanding with the need to have a large space for up to fourteen commissioners to view a series of moving, sliding display boards of projects. There was also a need for a room for the Commissioners' lunch and office accommodation for the staff.

The design placed the commissioners on the ground floor with a space which can be opened up into the foyer for summer festival exhibitions and other events when the room is not being used by the commissioners. The roofed space on the first floor was opened up with a ridged rooflight to admitlight for the use of lunch and other public meetings and a vaulted space adjacent to it was converted to office accommodation.

The general thrust of the design was to place new architectural details within the repaired shell of the original building, with certain flourishes such as suspended balcony arrangement on the south side making sense of existing doorways.

Architects Richard Murphy, Edward Hollis
Engineers Harley Haddow
Construction Cost £150,000


March 1998 A Finer Art Abc&D
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