Foster + Partners transform Edinburgh landmark
The Quartermile development is one of the largest and most comprehensive
regeneration schemes in Scotland. Formerly the home of the historic
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, the 8-hectare site is located within a
conservation area on Edinburgh’s Victorian fringes and includes nine listed
buildings. It falls within the central area of Edinburgh designated a World
Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
The starting point for the Quartermile scheme was to open the site up with
a network of pedestrian routes and landscaped public spaces that draw the
park directly into its heart, creating a strong sense of place and reinforcing
pedestrian connections to the centre.
Phase One (completed in May 2008), in the south-east corner of the
Quartermile masterplan, comprises three new residential buildings linked
by an underground car park: Q4, Q12 and Q14. Here, new construction is
combined with the selective refurbishment of historic buildings, with the new
residential schemes woven carefully into the grain of the old. Massing and
facades have been carefully developed to respect and follow the scale, tone
and material qualities of the neighbouring historic structures.
Full height windows are incorporated to maximise daylight and provide dramatic views
of Edinburgh, while the solid facades respond to functional requirements,
providing both protection from fire spread and privacy between adjacent
buildings. Tri-tone anodised aluminium rainscreen facades reference the
finely feathered texture of the neighbouring sandstone structures.
Q4 is located on the eastern edge of the site addressing Middle Meadow
Walk. It comprises six storeys of residential accommodation above one
storey of retail at ground level. Infill towers Q12 and Q14 at the south
east edge of the site between the Medical Buildings face the Meadows.
These contain twelve and eleven storeys of residential accommodation
respectively, including garden apartments at ground level and roof top
penthouses with private terraces.
The apartments’ layouts are elegant and functional and allow for different
configurations and flexible occupation, enhancing the appeal of their unique
location. The interiors were conceived as calm, uncluttered and simple
spaces with a sense of refinement created by high quality materials and
well designed fittings. Rather than bespoke apartments, a high standard
was achieved economically by standardising a select palette of durable, high
quality materials and products. Emphasis was placed on the spatial flow
between interior and exterior, with full-width picture windows and generous
open plan layouts.