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Proposed new office development for Edinburgh’s Canongate

  • 16th Dec 2019
  • |  News
  • |  Sarah Watt
Proposed new office development for Edinburgh’s Canongate Banner

3DReid has lodged plans for the development of new office accommodation at 179 Canongate, Edinburgh in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A planning application for the development of high-quality office accommodation has been submitted on behalf of property developer, Summix Capital Ltd.

Offering 20,000sq/ft of floorspace and accessible break out spaces the co-working scheme is geared towards freelancers and small businesses seeking a collaborative work environment in the heart of the city. Incorporating the A-listed Canongate Kirk and Canongate Tolbooth the project will retain existing boundary walls, workshops and other features to maintain a character-led approach.

The design by 3DReid has been developed as a response to the unique fabric and distinct historical identity of Canongate and the Royal Mile. Office provision ensures this is protected while offering competitive amenities and a modern office building while complementing the heritage of the surrounding area.

There will be four floors designed for small and medium businesses with the provision for co-working. Each floor will have 5,000 sq ft with accessible break out spaces on the top two floors. Coworking spaces provide a more flexible, accessible and affordable option for SME businesses and freelancers with an open environment which cultivate a positive and collaborative working environment.

The building has strong sustainability credentials including dedicated on-site cycling provision and facilities for greener commuting. Additionally, the site has the potential for a publicly accessible café to animate the existing courtyard to Old Tolbooth Wynd, enhancing occupants and visitors experience of the building.

“These proposals will not only serve to redevelop a vital location but help to tackle Edinburgh’s burgeoning crisis in available office space provision, especially in Edinburgh city centre.”
Summix Capital Ltd,

Incorporating the wider UNESCO World Heritage Site and the A-listed structures of the Canongate Kirk and Canongate Tolbooth, the proposals will retain boundary walls, existing workshop structures and remaining historical artefacts on site.

It will also create a new East-West route from Old Tolbooth Wynd to Bowling Green Court and enhances permeability for pedestrians and animates the newly created connecting route through New Waverley, to Waverley Station. Critically, it fosters more positive engagement with surrounding closes and courts to help alleviate anti-social behaviour through improved passive surveillance.’

A spokesperson for Summix Capital Ltd commented: “We’re thrilled to submit this application for an office development in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

“As a co-working space, this development provides an innovative solution to this issue while ensuring its green credentials are in line with Edinburgh City Council standards.

“We’ve consulted widely and diligently with stakeholders in Edinburgh to ensure they’ve had an opportunity to input their views about the proposals. The plans represent a collaborate discussion about how best to make this site work.”

The façade colour was reviewed with the local authority and Historic Environment Scotland, which felt a salmon-coloured brick was ‘more sympathetic’ with the conservation area.

The new building would be located near the Category A-listed structures of Canongate Kirk church, dating to 1691, and Canongate Tolbooth, built in 1591.

Architect’s view – 3DReid Director, Chris Dobson

“The office use creates a more malleable and articulated form, more liberating than a student bed module and one which could positively integrate and engage with residual historic built fabric on the site, which sits at the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and in close proximity to the A-Listed Canongate Kirk and Canongate Tolbooth buildings.

“This capacity for greater expression also extends to the roof form, which is particularly important here, due to elevated views that are present from the nearby Calton Hill.

“The change in materials is derived from our further studies into the surrounding context, the building being conceived as a contemporary reading of the Scots Baronial style that is quite prevalent within the local context, with tones being drawn from this, in addition to the retained brickwork of the industrial quality of the former city gasworks (which previously occupied this site) and hues of the local sandstone.”

Project team

  • Client: Summix Ltd
  • Architect: 3DReid
  • Project Management: Arcadis
  • Planning Consultant: Turley
  • Heritage Consultant: Turley Heritage
  • Economic Consultant: Turley
  • Archaeologist: AOC
  • Structures: Will Rudd Davidson
  • Services: Butler Consulting
  • Daylight/Sunlight Study: Butler Consulting
  • Sustainability: Butler Consulting
  • Transport: Arcadis
  • Verified Views: Brindley Associates

3D Visuals:

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