Best Buildings in Scotland Awards 2019

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland has published the winning projects of its 2019 awards, showing the best new buildings from around the country.

Councillor Neil Gardiner, Planning Convenor commented on the awards saying, “It is worth noting that two of the award winners are in Edinburgh, with the judges describing the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service building at Heriot Watt as an ‘Open, bright, engaging and uplifting place of work’. Great architecture can extend to buildings where people interact and what better place to celebrate good design than through our voluntary blood donation service?

If you can’t make it to Heriot Watt, which is well worth a visit, you can also give blood at Lauriston Place.”

Development in Bonnington

Historically, Bonnington was a milling village that grew around the Water of Leith. The area has since been home to business and light industry, including the John Lewis depot, the former Crawfords Biscuits warehouse and the original Chancelot Mill (before it moved to Leith Western Harbour in the 1970’s).

Bonnington MillIn more recent years, as industry has declined, the area has had great potential to provide new homes for the city.

We created a long-term development brief for the area in 2008 to ensure that:

  • housing development did not prejudice existing businesses;
  • modern, flexible business space was still provided in the area; and
  • better connections were made between Bonnington and wider pedestrian routes, cycle networks and green spaces.

Our development brief covers the area highlighted in purple below. It’s been almost ten years since its publication – so, what has happened in that time?

fig 4b

Well, there’s been a wealth of redevelopment, and the area is almost unrecognisable when compared with the 1929 aerial shot. Development in Bonnington has been residential-led and there’s potentially a lot more to come.

We recently had a walk around Bonnington to visit completed development, sites under construction and sites currently being assessed for planning permission. These included:

  • Flaxmill Place

flaxmill-pl-comercial1.jpgLocated just off Newhaven Road, this development for 130 residential homes was granted planning permission in November 2012. The development was finished in 2016, on the site of the former Johnston Print Works. Although space for light industry has not been formally reinstated, business space has been provided. One unit is currently occupied.


  • Bonnington Village

Works to construct Bonnington Village are underway, just off Bonnington Road Lane. The development was granted planning permission in 2016 and works began in May 2017. The development will provide 214 homes, as well as two commercial units that will lie adjacent to the existing flats at Tinto Place. An improved north to south pedestrian link will also be delivered through the development.

  • West Bowling Green Street

The building works for 98 residential properties on West Bowling Green Street began in July 2017. As you can see in the plans below, both commercial and retail space is to be provided on the ground floor units fronting Anderson Place. The development will also deliver the foot way and cycle way we initially proposed in our development brief. You can see this route in Figure 4b above.


As we move towards our next Local Development Plan, LDP 2, we will be reflecting on how well our policies for housing and employment space have been working. New employment space is being provided in Bonnington, however, it is not as flexible as the older industrial and storage buildings it is replacing. We still think there’s a need to provide industrial space in this part of the city.

The LDP 2 process is likely to include reassessing our approach to such areas, to ensure that a variety of employment sites are available across all parts of the city.

We will be looking for your input soon as we prepare to plan for the future of Bonnington and the wider city. In the meantime, you can view and comment on the range of planning applications we receive for the city on our planning portal.

Reviewing the Edinburgh Design Guidance – your views

The Edinburgh Design Guidance is being reviewed and we’d like your comments on the proposed changes.

South Queensferry housing

The revised draft guidance has a number of key changes including the Parking Standards (for new developments), advice on Build to Rent Housing and protected views to the Forth Bridge.

Have your say.

You can give us comments using the online survey, which also contains a link to the draft revised Guidance.

We are also holding two consultation workshops on the Design Guidance on Monday 15 May, in the City Chambers.  If you would like to attend, please email us the following details to

  • name
  • contact details
  • organisation (where relevant), and
  • workshop preference – 15:30-17:00 or 18:00-17:30

Consultation on the guidance will close on 2 June 2017.

Princes Street / South St David Street

Archi-Fringe – Edinburgh, Too

Hello Everyone,

As you’re probably aware 2016 is the year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, it’s the only year-long festival celebrating the international built environment, design and innovation, part of which the Cities Expo we’ve been covering on the Mound.  On Friday we were privileged to meet with Architects Robb Mcrae and Tamsin Cunningham at their exhibitions ‘Edinburgh Too’ and ‘Peripheries and Outlines’.

Archifringe18 months ago, Robb Mcrae, architect, photographer and lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, had an idea to set up an Architecture Fringe.  He floated the idea on social media, seven tweets later, a series of mini events and a period of six months creating awareness and gathering feedback he took on challenge of Co-producer of the ArchiFringe.

It’s an independent, self funded festival, with 60 contributors and 29 events all over Scotland – a fantastic festival showcasing ideas and innovative solutions, on a local level.

Robb’s exhibition ‘Edinburgh Too’ was on at Gayfield Creative Spaces gallery for a few days and is now moving onto Glasgow from 15 – 17 July at new Glasgow Society.  The exhibition displays photographic pieces, highlighting the residential built environment outside of the Edinburgh World Heritage site.

The images showcased the diverse aesthetics in the wider city context, challenging perceptions of the reality of living in a historic city.  As Robb said, “In Scotland there is prevalence for connection to other people, to community through semi-detached and apartment living also, their formation as free-flowing streets and not cul-de sacs adds to the public realm of the city and security, resulting in attractive neighbourhoods.”

His next project will be looking at Castlerock, the foundation before the existence of the city.  He hopes to compile his work in a book so if you missed the exhibition keep your eye out for it.

Tamsin Cunningham, Architect and Artist, showcased her exhibition ‘Peripheries and Outlines’.  Speaking with Tamsin was inspirational, her work offered the viewer a clear message of repetition, of form and ultimately connection.  Art is Tamsin’s therapeutic past time.  It reflects daily insight into the physical and sociological ideals within the city, gained through her profession as an Architect.  Tamsin noted that, “Common threads through and Robb and my own exhibitions are finding ways to explore discourse through architecture using different mediums and realising the points of connectivity between culture and community.”

Peripheries and Outlines
Peripheries and Outlines

We asked what’s next for Tamsin?

A project in collaboration with St. Andrews University looking at the issue of community engagement in Planning, researching and developing possible solutions for reinventing public consultation, how to make it more engaging, efficient and effective. This is interesting for us, with the Old and New Towns Management Plan consultation taking place at the moment.  She’s also working with Edinburgh World Heritage Trust on the 12 closes project, exploring the emotional connection between people and their place.

Meeting Robb and Tamsin was great!

We hope you find their stories as interesting as we did.  You can find out more about upcoming events at the Architecture fringe website and read more about Robb and his work.

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter.

Katie and Luke

Your views on new buildings and places in Edinburgh

You might recall, that last year we asked for views on a number of new buildings in Edinburgh. This year we’ve tried to make it a bit easier by asking about a selection of new buildings and places in four areas of the City.

Map of survey areas
Map of survey areas

If you open the map and click on the title for each area it will take you to the relevant survey. If you’re using a mobile or tablet, the links below will take you to the same surveys. You can do one area or if you’re feeling adventurous all four. Drop-in events are shown in each survey. Either way, we’re keen to get your thoughts.  The survey is open until 31 August 2015.