Hawkins\Brown gains permission to overhaul Edinburgh College of Art

The studio will retrofit five of the university’s existing buildings, increasing its overall capacity, rationalising and consolidating key facilities and allowing for more flexible studio spaces and workshops for students.

The buildings set for renovation are the estate’s Grade A-listed Fire Station and ancillary building, the Grade A-listed Edinburgh College of Arts Building (Municipal Arts Building), the Grade B-listed Hunter Building, North East Studios, and Evolution House.

The former fire station on the estate will be fully refurbished with workspaces for staff, as well as digital making facilities and a recycling hub.

Meanwhile, the ECA’s School of Music will be integrated into the existing campus to encourage collaborative, cross-disciplinary work, and fitted with ‘state of the art’ image and sound facilities.

And two other listed buildings will be adapted to improve their operational efficiency, upgrading the thermal performance of the building envelopes, replacing existing gas boilers with air-source heat pumps, and specifying energy-efficient fittings.

An Edinburgh planning officer’s report had recommended the proposals for approval on the grounds that they ‘will preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area’.

The report added: ‘The proposals have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building and its setting and will not adversely impact on its special architectural and historic interest.’

Source:Hawkins\Brown (taken from design and access statement)

University context – ECA properties

Hawkins\Brown says the scheme will help the ECA’s aims to ‘be more outward-facing and inclusive’ and to ‘cater to the ever-changing needs of university education as well as evolving cohort numbers’.

Practice associate Campbell Metcalfe said: ‘We have been working with our clients at Edinburgh College of Art since the early briefing stages to understand the university’s strategic aims and how this translates into capital developments that will future-proof their estate.

‘Our proposals are carefully crafted to make the most of existing spaces while supporting the university to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus for students.’

ECA principal Juan Cruz said the university was delighted to get the planning permission.

‘This marks a significant milestone in our journey,’ he said, ‘and we look forward to this transformative project that will not only enhance the landscape but also encourage creativity and collaboration across different fields, leading to a more innovative future for ECA.’

Hawkins\Brown has offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Dublin, Los Angeles and Toronto.

In September the studio received planning permission for a £54 million retrofit of Haringey Civic Centre, in North London.

And last month it submitted plans alongside Schmidt Hammer Lassen for a 13-storey ‘modern and dynamic’ library tower for Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

Source:Hawkins\Brown (taken from design and access statement)

North East Studios – South Elevation proposals


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