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Malcolm Fraser completes Centre for Carbon Innovation

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[FIRST LOOK + PLANS + PROJECT DATA] Malcolm Fraser Architects has completed the retrofit of an 18th century school in Edinburgh, transforming it into a new centre for low carbon training

The £6.1 million scheme features new atria, social and teaching spaces fitted in and between the historic buildings of the Royal High School in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The adjoining Surgeon’s Square has also been transformed from a car park to a public square as part of the project.

The Centre for Carbon Innovation is a partnership between the three Edinburgh universities providing a teaching hub for skills needed to create a low carbon economy.

Malcolm Fraser Centre for Carbon Innovation

The architect’s view

The integrity of the historic buildings is restored but the whole delivers all the breakout and flexible working space that exemplar modern teaching and business practice demands.

As such the building’s own environmental performance is significant and it has just been confirmed that this will be the first refurbished building in the UK to receive the industry’s top BREEAM Outstanding award at design stage. Compared to the standard demolish-and-new-build sustainability model this represents a radical alternative and, as a general lesson, we suggest that the achievement of a low carbon economy should start with the joyful renewal of sturdy historic buildings, rather than their replacement.

Malcolm Fraser Centre for Carbon Innovation

Project data

Location Edinburgh
Type of project Higher education
Client University of Edinburgh
Architect Malcolm Fraser Architects
Structural engineer Elliott and Company
M&E consultant Harley Haddow
Quantity surveyor Thompson Gray
Planning supervisor David Adamson & Partners Limited
Acoustics Sandy Brown Associates
Building fabric consultant Bob Heath
Fire engineers FEDRA, Buro Happold
Soft landscape design Ironside Farrar
Archaeology Headland Archaeology
Main contractorGraham Construction
Funding University of Edinburgh
Start on site date January 2012
Completion date September 2013
Contract duration 82 weeks
Gross internal floor area 2223m²
Form of contract Traditional JCT 2011 with quantities
Total cost £6.1 million
Environmental targets BREEAM Outstanding (design stage)


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