Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Edinburgh, City of
Information about this scheme
Edinburgh Printmakers’ new home is located within what once was the headquarters of the North British Rubber Company (NBRC).
The NBRC building is the only surviving structure from the once large and important nineteenth century Castle Mills industrial complex. The project involved the redevelopment of this derelict building into a multi-use arts complex centred around printmaking production, providing two galleries, shop, café, education space, offices, environmentally controlled archives, eight creative industries units and a large print studio. The approach was to make precise contemporary interventions to facilitate new use while respecting the character and story of the existing building. A new entrance onto Dundee St provides level access into the building, but also creates a public face for the building offering views directly into the two galleries and opening a dialogue between the Printmakers and the city.
The new extension to the rear subtly shifts the centre of gravity of the building to create a central courtyard around which all building users can meet and interact. A simple, effective new circulation strategy ensures that all six levels of this complex historic building are accessible to all. The print studio sits at first floor level in the triple height former joinery workshop. Fabric repair works were carried out as necessary, but the patina of one hundred and fifty years of occupation was maintained.
Historic joist pockets within the raw brick walls are retained, the original muscular cast iron structure and timber trusses are left exposed, and marks of previous interior paint colours are left untouched. Where original fabric was no longer required it was re-purposed. Old glazed bricks found behind layers of plaster in the basement were re-used to make the servery counter. Large timber doors were re-imagined as tables in the café. Bespoke shop fittings were crafted using plywood, steel and rubber in a nod to the industrial heritage.
A series of temporary installations and events were executed to encourage local engagement with the project. In addition to these, three permanent public artworks were commissioned exploring the rich heritage of the building and area. These commissions are integral to the architectural design and offer visitors an opportunity to discover the hidden histories of the site.
Interserve Construction Ltd.
Doig and Smith
Will Rudd Davidson
Gardiner and Theobald
Primary Use Class
Class D2 - Assembly and Leisure