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South Clerk Street, Edinburgh

South Clerk Street, Edinburgh

VALUE   £105,000
SIZE   100sqm
PROJECT ROLE   Architect
block 9 Architects

The existing Halls of Residence at South Clerk Street were built in the 1990s, forming part of the University of Edinburgh’s estate. The building comprised a series of student apartments, each containing 4 bedrooms, a shower room and a small kitchen / common room. The building lacked a large social area for students from different flats to meet, socialise and study together.

A brief was compiled to clear one of the ground floor apartments, to allow for a large Common Room where students could congregate without disrupting others within their respective living accommodation. All partitions were cleared within the stepped plan formation of 1 apartment, with stacked services rerouted to form a large open plan space. The stepped external wall of the plan was exploited to form different zones – TV & Relaxation / Games / Study. These zones were further differentiated through concealed ambient lighting within isolated floating ceilings.

Various options were designed and considered for a ‘live’ interactive wall which would unify the various zones, from habitable seating and storage spaces to sinuous curves which contrasted the harsh rectilinear stepping wall opposite. The wall was clad in various modules and species of salvaged timber, which were recycled from various uses, including palettes, scaffold planks and church pews, set out to form a linear yet organic aesthetic. This assisted in emphasising the sustainable methodology in which the project was executed, and illustrates the University’s environmental credentials.