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Hoskins scoops 'super sensitive' Edinburgh hotel scheme


Gareth Hoskins has won the competition to redevelop one of Edinburgh’s most sensitive landmarks, the historic Royal High School on Calton Hill

Hoskins’ £35 million scheme for the landmark will transform the A-listed Classical building, which the council claims has been on a ‘sabbatical for 40 years’, into an ‘Arts Hotel’ with restaurant, café and public arts gallery.

Speaking to the AJ shortly after hearing about his victory, Hoskins said he was ‘very chuffed’.

The scheme for Duddingston House Properties will feature a ‘sensitive’ treatment of the central span with new build elements introduced on the site’s fringes.

The award winning designer, who is also working on Donald Trump’s mega golf-course in Aberdeenshire, added: ‘We’ve been in a lot of consultation with conservation bodies.

‘[However, we were] probably deemed to be the more controversial in planning terms.’

Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: ‘The plans to reinvigorate the Royal High School are certainly most welcome.’

‘The Royal High School is one of Edinburgh’s most magnificent buildings, vital to Edinburgh’s epithet of ‘Athens of the North [and] has wider significance as part of the collection of monuments of national importance on Calton Hill and is an essential element of the World Heritage Site’.

Wilkinson thinks the project will ‘present many challenges and of course demand sensitivity, intelligence and beauty’ but will finally secure ‘a proper future for the building is also enormously important’.

Hoskins saw off competition from the likes of Richard Murphy and LDN Architects to win the commission.


The Royal High School has not been in public use since 1968. Built on Calton Hill in 1829 it is one of Edinburgh’s most imposing landmarks. A number of proposals for the school have fallen by the wayside including plans to move the Scottish Assembly into the building in the 1970s and a more recent scheme for a £20 million National Photography Centre, which was abandoned last year.


Readers' comments (18)

  • The choice of use, developer and architect seem to be attracting some critical cooment in the Scottish press.

    Scotsman today


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  • .. and also of course Duddingston House is mired in controversy over its plans to part demolish a listed cinema in Edinburgh and turn it into an 'arts hotel', having left the building to get into disrepair.

    The plans were called in.

    Hoskins (OBE) isn't proving popular either with regard to his involvement with the Trump development, which will require Compulsory Purchase Orders on local residents homes and land. They don't want to move, Hoskins claims he can't design the development (spoiling an SSSI) without turfing them off.

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  • And the building isn't abandoned. it's still in use.

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  • Just heard Alan Dunlop talking about this on the radio, he was very good and sounded like he knew a lot about it and was very positive about the developer. Did he make a bid?

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  • No idea, but as it's by another Glasgow architect and not one of those he's at usually at loggerheads with in Edinburgh no doubt he would be positive.

    It's not a good move politically for the council to have Duddingston House and Hoskins involved, but the CEC is really useless.

    The problem is the building requires repair and the council has not the cash.

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  • No

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  • Uncharacteristically short and sweet. Thank you for the clarification.

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  • Duddingston House is the developer behind the Glasgow cinema scheme, is it not? The one which demolishes most of a Grade B listed building?

    Architects Dunlop and Murray?

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  • Yes

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  • Is that still on hold?

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