CoDE Pod Hostel – The Court




ARCHITECTURE: Building Re-use




CoDE Pod Hostels


1A Parliament Square is an A-Listed building in the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town, originally designed as police chambers with holding cells and court room facilities. Latterly, the building has been used as temporary accommodation, serving as offices for the council. CoDE appreciated from an early stage that the building would offer an ideal canvas for their brand of Pod accommodation, requiring few internal alterations. Steeped in character and history with original features remaining, the unique concept of a courthouse/jail themed hostel was established.

Key to the development was preserving and enhancing the existing character of the building, both for its invaluable prominence in Scotland’s architectural landscape and for the proposed concept of the hostel to translate. Existing fabric repairs were carried out using traditional detailing, blocked up windows were reinstated and the original historic entrance door was recreated. Adding to “ex courthouse” marketing of the hostel, walls are unlined, as thermal upgrading would have altered the listed character. Graffiti and other original markings remain exposed to enhance guest experience, whilst this also works in favour of the historic fabric, allowing the stone to “breathe” as originally intended. Small cell windows were replaced with new double-glazed units, while larger sash and case windows were overhauled and re-balanced. A new heating system was introduced, making use of efficient air source heat pumps on the roof.

The interior was stripped back to its original finishing, removing modern partitions and lowered ceilings to create a black canvas. Original vaulted holding cells provided an opportunity for private rooms, whilst larger rooms allow for group accommodation with pod bed configurations adapted to suit various spaces. The original entrance hall was restored to its intended proportions, now a welcoming entrance off Parliament Square. Congregating spaces serve as originally intended, repurposed as a bar area and breakfast room. These public spaces make use of original courtroom pews as seating,