Guthrie Gardens—

Client—

Square and Crescent

Site—

Guthrie Gardens, Liberton

Stage—

Construction

Project Details—

Guthrie Gardens is a new development on Lasswade Road, Liberton. Formerly known as Dr. Guthrie School for Boys, then more latterly Guthrie Court, the building was originally designed to sit within the 4-acre plot in 1885 as an Edinburgh Industrial Ragged School. Square and Crescent approached LBA to sensitively convert the building back into residential use to provide 30 spectacular and spacious one, two and three-bedroom apartments and form a newbuild block containing 11, one, two and three-bedroom units.

The design concept was to remove non-original elements to make more of a feature of the original school gym to the North side of the courtyard - which is of greater architectural interest and reinstate the original facades of the existing B Listed building. The proposal enables a much more regular elevation to the courtyard flanked by taller buildings to the East, South and West and the smaller school gym to the North. The journey made by many of the residents into the courtyard will be from the North East corner, allowing both residents and visitors to enter a formal courtyard between two low buildings and focus attention on the more interesting main body of the original school building.

Externally the facades will be repaired and restored as required. Any necessary alterations to form new doorways or windows will be kept to a minimum and carried out in a simple and sensitive manner – blending the historic and the new and the few intact internal elements that remain will be retained and restored, including the internal stairs and the plaque to the front door. The apartments interiors will be contemporary in design with a simple, timeless and modern feel.

The proposed new block is intended to be a modern intervention within the site whilst respecting and being sympathetic to the existing building. The brick facade terminating at the same height as the existing masonry wall/eaves height of the adjacent building to provide a coherency between the old and the new. The top most storey is set back from the principal facade and clad in a modern rainscreen to complement the slate roof of the existing buildings and the brick has been selected to tone sensitively with the existing sandstone.

Architect’s insight—

Our design intention is to harmonise the conversion of the B Listed former school building with the contemporary modern new block. This approach has been applied throughout the design process; from the crisp, modern appearance of the new block, with materials selected to pair with the slate roof on the existing building and red sandstone walls. The same material palette has been applied to the upgrading of a non-original extension, forming an internal staircase leading to the newly created contemporary apartments.