The Registers




ARCHITECTURE: Commercial/Office/Hotel Building or Project


Hoskins Architects


Chris Stewart Group


Hoskins Architects was appointed by the Chris Stewart Group to develop proposals for the comprehensive redevelopment of a prominent but under-utilised urban site, to bring new life to a complex of redundant buildings and the lanes surrounding them in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town World Heritage Site and Conservation Area. Incorporating the redevelopment of four existing buildings that front onto South St Andrew Street and West Register Street, the project has a significant presence on the South East corner of St Andrew Square and includes a comprehensive and considered strategy for the site in its wider context.
The mixed-use development carefully knits the requirements for Grade-A office space and a range of high-quality commercial units into a complex, historic setting, while revealing the fine details of the Category B-listed Venetian Gothic facade that is retained within the site. New-build elements respond to the scale, proportion and character of adjacent buildings, streets and lanes with natural sandstone cladding carefully interspersed with precast concrete bands. Dissecting the blanket listing of the complex and determining the relative significance of each of the buildings and their composite parts was key to unlocking the development of the site.
Consulting with Historic Environment Scotland [HES] during the planning process, restoration of the most significant aspects of the building was agreed upon. This included: essential stone repairs, removal of metal plates and paint which damaged the stonework, retention of the remaining original ground floor window frames, restoration of cast iron stall riser grilles and recreation of the panelled doors at the ornate corner entrances. A challenging and significant aspect of the refurbishment was the recreation of the historic mansard roof, along with its gothic dormers and array of cast iron brattishing crowning every ridge, ledge and corner. Through detailed analysis of the limited original drawings and historic photographs, alongside as site investigations, the architects were able to reinterpret the geometry, profile and details for the mansard roof. 
Throughout the design process a considered design strategy for the wider area was always at the heart of the project, developed to ensure it becomes a well-used and loved part of the city; consultation with all stakeholders was key to understanding and delivering this aspect. This focused on collaboration between Edinburgh Council / HES and the design team in order to agree a design that worked for all stakeholders involved, from heritage, commercial and economical points of view.