Market Street Hotel




ARCHITECTURE: Commercial/Office/Hotel Building or Project






Set behind a striking façade of Scottish stone at the point where Edinburgh’s historic Old Town meets the New Town, the hotel emerges as a cultural gateway to both the city’s storied past and its pulse-quickening present. The visual concept of the 98-room hotel pays homage to the capital’s character and historic narrative, while simultaneously exploring Scottish cosmopolitanism.

The project was confined to a restricted site that had lain derelict and undeveloped for over 50 years. Uncertainty over the viability of the site and the challenge of building on this historic land led to the question of whether development was possible. The project was subject to an ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) assessment, through this report and the understanding of over 500 years of history on the site the backbone of the design process was formed. The design solution for this compact urban site resolved numerous technical and contextual challenges: the dramatic topography of the site; existing escape routes and services; enhancement of adjoining public spaces; mitigation of noise; gaining full advantage of the superb views from the site and integrating sensitively into the Old Town roofscape whilst protecting the historic Edinburgh skyline.

The use of a detailed BIM approach evolved to include an assessment of daylight and privacy lines in this complex multi-levelled historic environment. The use of point cloud laser surveys was also harnessed, to analyse the existing historic fabric as the demolition of the derelict garage building on the site took place.

The meaningful connection with the location continues throughout the interiors, starting with an expansive wall in the entrance that pays homage to the dried earth of the “Nor Loch”, now occupied by Princes Street Gardens. Scottish motifs have been reimagined and woven into the multifaceted design, culminating in a series of five floating copper fireplaces that together replicate the first notes of “The Flower of Scotland”. Organic, natural materials such as oak and locally sourced stone provide a tactile canvas, alongside custom-made furniture and handcrafted local pieces.