This facet of the Big Stone Research Strand covers a multitude of case studies exploring and visualising the benefits and potential of building re-use not only as sound business sense but also as an innovative answer to the conservation and area development process.
No.6 Market Street, Edinburgh
No.6 Market St [Project explored by Paul Rich]. is north facing with a gap site attached to the east side. The site is overshadowed by high-rise tenements to the south side and at the rear. Originally built in the 1930s the building had replaced a tenement block similar to those behind. The structure was purpose built by the local authority to accommodate the police department's vehicles. The garage has two central car lifts and eventually became redundant in 1989. The site still adheres to the original burgess plot arrangement of medieval Edinburgh with two closes on either side of the site. One close has been blocked for many years and the western side close has continually been in use, mainly to facilitate commuter and tourist foot fall. The site is close to the World Heritage boundaries and is well placed for views and access, and has a duplicity of meaning within the Old town area of Edinburgh with regard to the day and night activities. During the day the area hosts tourist and commuter activities whilst after dark the environment becomes a vibrant area of nightclubs, bars and taxis.
With the site and building's profile established - [ i.e. an old reinforced concrete structure, in a very sensitive historic area, with a listed status], it became obvious that the initial brief of a residential nature would need to be re-addressed.
The re-use brief was revisited and developed to a social use by creating a hybrid space of security and performance, involving the site's past history and values previously integral to the site. The key design intent was to reintroduce the medieval closes and develop there use to give a renewed sense of place, linking key historic areas through the re-used site.
This meant an intervention lead design process was needed, combing and linking the building's re-use with a new structure located in the gap site next door. This could be read as a hybrid approach, using a number of re-use systems to facilitate the design intent.
The case study successfully engaged with the companies seven-step methodology for reuse and has successfully delivered an alteration that works well within its context and adds a new and modern set of values to an extremely significant site, whilst dealing with the embodied energy of the 1930s building and the complicated historic fabric of the environment.