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BA Architecture
Year 2 - 2007/2008
Ralf Brand
Contributing Students:
Richard Black
Helen Flynn
Mark Fullerton
Joaquim Paz
Alistair Watkiss
Geographical, social and historical

Located in the north-east coast of Great Britain,

Edinburgh, is the capital of Scotland, since 1437,and
its second largest city.
The city council includes urban Edinburgh and a 30-
square-mile (78 km2) surrounding rural area.


Like much of the rest of Scotland, Edinburgh has a

temperate maritime climate. Winters are specially mild
and the proximity of the sea mitigates large variations
of temperature. The prevailing wind direction is south-
west, associated with warm, and it has a lower annual
precipitation than most of UK cities along south-east
Development of city

According to the General Register Office for Scotland,

in 2006 the council area has a resident population of
463,510 people (220,094 male and 237,736 female).

Demographic evolution
Historical landscape

Year 1755 1791 1811 1831 1851 1871 1891 1911 1931 1951 1971 1991 2001 2006

57,195 81,865 82,624 136,054 160,511 196,979 261,225 320,318 439,010 466,761 453,575 418,914 448,624 463,510

The historic centre of Edinburgh is divided in two by the broad green

swath of Princess Street Gardens. On South the view is dominated by
the Castle, perched atop the extinct volcanic crag, and to the north lies
Princess Street and the New Town.
Both districts were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
The Old Town has preserved its medieval plan as many Reformation-
era buildings, and in 1766 a competition to design the New Town was
won by James Craig, a 22-year-old architect. The plan that was built
created a rigid, ordered grid, which fitted well with enlightenment ideas
of rationality.
Today the New Town is considered by many to be one of the finest
examples of Georgian architecture and planning in the world.


With the strongest economy of any city in the UK outside London and
been recently announced as one of the fastest growing city regions in
Europe, the strength of Edinburgh's economy is reflected by its GDP
per capita, which was measured at £27,600 in 2004.
Largely based around the services sector: education and health,
finance and business services, retailing and tourism are the main
areas of activity.
Unemployment in Edinburgh is low at 2.2%, which has been
consistently below the Scottish average.


Edinburgh, declared the first UNESCO City of Literature, has a long

literary tradition, going back to the Scottish Enlightenment, cultural
movement which produced influential personalities as the philosopher
David Hume and the pioneer of economics, Adam Smith.
Home for many libraries, museums and art galleries and well-known
for the Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent
festivals held annually over about four weeks from early August,
helping to attract to the city around 13 million visitors a year.
What has previously been done in
terms of sustainable urbanism?
The City of Edinburgh Council states that by the year 2015, the Scottish capital will be the most sustainable city in Northern
Europe. The Council has a number of policies regarding topics such as water, transport and infrastructure design that are
being implemented in order to ensure this goal is achieved. A Climate Change Declaration has been signed by the Council
which commits the city to reducing it’s impact on the worlds climate by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing
the ever changing city in a sustainable manor.

Edinburgh has developed a Local Transport Strategy
(LTS) to reduce congestion within the region.
Congestion is expected to double by the year 2016
if no action is taken. The number of cars used for
recreational and commuter purposes reduced by
4.1% between 1999 and 2001 and is expected to
fall by a further 7.8% due to the measures taken by
the council. Edinburgh’s LTS encourages citizens to
use sustainable forms of transport by:
•improving and increasing the network of cycle and
pedestrian routes.
•Reducing traffic speeds to encourage pedestrian
•Appropriate lighting, signage and surveillance to
ensure safe routes.
•Introducing car clubs which reduce the number of
cars on roads by using a pay as you drive scheme.
Fair Trade Building design Water
Edinburgh’s 2006 Fair trade Consumer The City of Edinburgh Council was
Guide states that outlets in the city Urban areas draw heavily on
committed to reducing it’s
stock over 1000 Fair Trade Products, water resources and this demand
greenhouse gas emissions by 15%
from coffee to footballs and from can be reduced by 50% in
by 2005 following the introduction
flowers to herbs. The range of Fair commercial and domestic
of the Kyoto Protocol. This is higher
Trade products sold reflects the buildings by use of efficient
than the national UK reduction. In
demand for the products and the design strategies. Edinburgh’s
order to achieve this the following
responsible traders and consumers council spends £3.5 million per
points are carefully considered
within the region. Large supermarkets annum on water and sewerage
when designing new building or
such as Marks and Spencer, Scotmid and has an efficient water
( Scotland largest co-operative management policy in place in
supermarket founded in 1859), small • Reduce the demand of energy to order to reduce water use and
independent cafes such as The Lot and maintain the building waste.
churches have all joined the fair-trade • Use renewable energy resources
movement. Many churches in
Edinburgh hold Fair Trade events and • Eliminate air-con
has held exchanges with Fair Trade • Orientate building for maximum
growers form around the globe in order solar and wind gain
to raise awareness about this
important issue. • Maximum sustainable use of

PROBE Studies 100 are used in

order to analyse a number of
existing buildings to demonstrate
how they could be more
sustainable. This also demonstrates
effective and non- effective building Talla reservoir which supplies
practices. Edinburgh with water.
Investigation of one key element
Slateford Green Housing,
Competition winning 120 house
Designed by: Hackland and Dore,
Client: Canmore Housing Association,
Funding: Scottish
Homes/Communities, Scotland.

The project demonstrates housing

that is car-free and built using
sustainable construction methods and
materials, is financially viable as a
housing solution.
The design comes from the traditional
Edinburgh tenement block, with a
sheltered courtyard design adapted
to the site. A community hall is
included within the block to extend
the buildings use to the wider
community. The block is surrounded
by terraced gardens and surrounded
by natural landscape and allotments.
Materials have been sourced ensuring
minimal environmental impact,
reduced maintenance costs and
capacity for recycling.
 Key Sustainability Features:
 ‘Car free’ housing concept with cycle facilities, city car club base and close public transport
links. Space that would have been used for parking instead devoted to gardens, children’s
play areas and allotments. Resident’s car ownership is less than 20%.
 Brownfield site – built on a former railway goods yard. As a result good access to many
facilities and public transport.
 Social facilities include community lounge/club room.
 Sheltering courtyard design, responding to topography and maximizing solar gain
 Passive and stack ventilation
 The structure is clad with a breathing wall with 175mm of Warmcel with panel-vent sheathing.
Warmcel is a highly effective insulation material that is recyclable and fully biodegradable.
 Artificial wetland, filters roof and road drainage run-off to SEPA guidelines.
 Native planting, low maintenance species chosen to encourage habitat for wildlife.
 Recyclable aluminium roof, breathing wall membrane/engineered timber structure. The
construction is lightweight dry-fix with reduced costs through prefabrication and waste
 Provision for retrofitting of photovoltaic panels to power lighting if and when practical cost
effective products become available.
The Scottish
 The Scottish Parliament Building located in Holyrood, in
the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Edinburgh
was designed by Enric Miralles, who teamed up with the
architectural practice RMJM Ltd.
 The choice of location, architect, design, and
construction company was controversial and criticised
by politicians, the media and the Scottish public.
 The building opened in 2004, over three years late with
an estimated final cost of £414m, vastly greater than
the initial estimates of between £10m and £40m.
 Despite widespread criticism, the building was
applauded by those from the architectural profession.
The aim of the building was to adopt a unity between
the Scottish landscape, the public, the culture and the
city of Edinburgh. The parliament building has won
numerous awards including the 2005 RIBA Stirling Prize.
The Scottish
 Sustainability was a key factor in the design of the building.

 Heating – a central system controls many windows which can

open at night, cooling the building. Water is heated by solar

 Electricity – all electricity is purchased from renewable sources.

Some electricity is generated on site by a combined heat and
power plant.

 Water – on-site boreholes provide water for toilets and help to

cool the building. Showers controlled by infrared sensors and
washbasins with flow regulators reduce water consumption.

 Materials – All timber is from well-managed, sustainable

sources. Paper is made from recycled waste and many materials
used within the building are recycled.

 Transport – The Parliament is 15 minutes walk from the train

station, and buses are available. Over 50 bicycle racks are
available for staff.
How did Edinburgh develop new measures and
policies on sustainability?
The council of Edinburgh have many factors to take into
consideration including recycling, land and building use and
restoration, health and safety and road and pathway
maintenance, all these must be run through the Strategic
Environmental Assessment, as described below.

SEA is a key component of sustainable development

establishing important new methods for protecting the
environment and extending opportunities for participation in
public policy decision making.
SEA is a process to ensure that significant environmental
effects arising from strategies, policies, plans and
programmes are identified, assessed, mitigated,
communicated to decision makers, monitored and that
opportunities for public involvement are provided.

The SEA is one of the main elements which allow Edinburgh to develop their measure and policies on sustainability. This
assessment and development will allow Edinburgh to reach its goal, to become the most sustainable city in northern
Europe, by 2015.

Appeals (or questions, representations, objections etc.) can be made to the Scottish Ministers by affected parties who are
not content with a decision made by an enforcing authority, such as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or
Scottish Water Most environmental legislation makes provision, in a range of different ways, for appeals to be made. This
allows the local people to have a real input into the actions taken on environmental issues.

Recently the council has signed Scotland's climate change declaration, this will enable the reduction of greenhouse gas
emissions, Edinburgh have also participated in a carbon management programme. Run by carbon trust this programme
aims to provide guidance and technological support to help authorities gain carbon emissions savings.
Edinburgh's sustainable reputation has
been built up by the formation of the “With this Sustainable Design Guide,
Council’s Sustainable Development Unit the City of Edinburgh Council adds to
(SDU). In order to cement the ideals and to its reputation as a city that seeks
communicate the importance of excellence in its built environment; and
environmental design, the Sustainable sustainability as a positive and
Design Guide was created. creative force in the quality of its
places and spaces for people.
Successful cities are those that rank
This contains information, guidelines and
excellence in place making alongside
case studies for each of the following
social and economic goals. This Guide
should therefore inspire those that
• Social and Economic issues commission buildings, design them
• Landscape and biodiversity and build them to create the kind of
• Materials city that they are proud to pass on to
• Water their grandchildren.”Raymond Young
Chair-Architecture and Design
• Transport
• Waste
• Building design
A number of policies have been introduced since the early 90’s
A detailed description of each of these including:
topics including solutions and a checklist in
order to ensure targets are met have been Sustainable Travel Plan for the City of Edinburgh Council
compiled and is aimed at professionals in (February 2000)
the field and clients in order to encourage Water Management Policy for Council buildings (July 2000)
sustainable design. City of Edinburgh Council Resource Use Policy (September 2000)
City of Edinburgh Council Timber Policy (1997)
Sustainable Development Strategy (December 2000)
Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan (2004)
City of Edinburgh Council’s Accessibility Strategy (2003)
Air Quality Action Plan (October 2003)

Key Figures involve in the implementation of the policies and the

production of the Sustainable Design Guide are:

The Council’s Building Design Services (BDS)

Don Mackenzie - Senior Architect BDS,
Maureen Child - Executive Member for Sustainability and
Finance Chair, Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership
What lessons can be transferred to

• The formulation of policies and small goals in order to break down the large targets set by
National bodies of authority.
• Developing a local transport strategy to reduce congestion in the city and to encourage use
of sustainable modes of transport by making them safer and easier to use.
• The creation of car free, pedestrian zones.
• Encourage the use of fair trade goods and create links with fair trade producers in order to
raise awareness within the communities.
• Introduce water management policies to reduce water waste and contamination.
• Use of ‘green housing’ which encourage sustainable living by steering the user in the right
direction and supplying the user with the correct tools for a sustainable lifestyle.
• The government to set an example by using a sustainable design for their own building.
• Use of sustainable materials in building design and refurbishment.
• The promotion of the reduce re-use and recycle principle in schools and communities.
• Promotion and advertisement of ‘green lifestyles’.
• Forming declarations and policies which set targets for the city and smaller communities within the
• The formation of committees and environmental boards which offer guidance and technological
support to local authorities.
• Increased funding in sustainable initiatives.
• The use of Strategic Environmental Assessment to establish methods for protecting the
environment which are relevant to the local area.
• Encourage local participation in the decision making and implementation process.
• Formation of bodies such as Edinburgh Council Sustainable Development Unit ( SDU) to cement and
communicate policies and ideas to the general public.
As the capital of Scotland since 1437, Edinburgh has a duty to set an example
on sustainable
urbanism for which the rest of Scotland can follow.

The City of Edinburgh Council states its desire to make Edinburgh the most
sustainable city in North Europe by 2015. To ensure this happens a number
of polices covering transport, building design, efficient water usage, fair
trade products and environmental awareness have been introduced.

Projects such as the Slateford Green Housing development and the Scottish
Parliament Building act as flagships setting an example for future design
projects in the city.

By breaking the target up into smaller goals, Edinburgh is making huge steps
in becoming a more sustainable city. We can only hope that the efforts are
kept up to make Edinburgh even more sustainable, and that smaller
Scottish cities, towns and villages follow their capital’s example and
develop their own policies for the benefit of the local and wider community.

 Scottish Architecture - Stuart Mac Donald

Architecture of Scotland - George Hay
Edinburgh-an illustrated architectural guide-Charles Mc Kean and David Walker
Edinburgh-the story of a city - E.F.Catford