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McEwan Hall Refurbishment

McEwan Hall at Edinburgh University is currently undergoing refurbishment to allow the restoration of the main hall to take place to create a multi functional space, new visitor and breakout facilities and the renovation of the existing basement area with landscaping of Bristo Square also taking place.

The hall was built between 1888 and 1897 through the largest single private donation in the University’s history of £115,000 from the brewer and politician Sir William McEwan and has long been in need of repair.

Designed by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, McEwan Hall is the graduating hall of the University of Edinburgh. The exterior of the D-shaped wall was completed in 1894 and the interior was finished in 1897. It is built in renaissance style and features mural decorations from the hand of William Palin. The central piece of art is a large painted work known as “The Temple of Fame” depicting a great number of philosophers and students. The dome of McEwan Hall is also seen as another striking feature of the building.

The much needed refurbishment work will see the University restore the building to its original status as a major asset for both the University and the city of Edinburgh.

Located on Charles Street, Edinburgh, the project is estimated to be worth approximately £33m and began in June 2015. The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2017.

The project is intended to address on-going operational issues that the building has experienced over the years. The University is investing in McEwan Hall to repair the building fabric, upgrade service installations and to resolve accessibility issues. The project will create additional public and support spaces to enable the building to deliver its core functions more effectively and to allow it to be used more frequently.

The redevelopment of the Grade 1 listed building will be a combination of meticulous restoration and sympathetic new build. Bristo Square is also being landscaped as part of the works to provide a more welcoming and accessible space with a new entrance into the hall.

The new McEwan Hall will feature traditionally restored building fabric to conserve McEwan Hall for the future, a circular amphitheatre featuring a contemporary glazed entrance pavilion, new tree planting and soft landscaping to create more social spaces and improved accessibility, a spectacular ceremonial hall for graduations and events, new visitor and conference facilities and upgraded energy efficient services.

The project has been designed by LDN and Buro Happold with Interserve Construction & Land Engineering acting as the projects main contractors.

The first stages of work during 2015 included the restoration of external stonework, improvements to the building foundations and the remedying of damp problems at ground level.

Bristo Square was closed in 2015 for re-landscaping and works in that area will include tree planting, more social spaces and improved accessibility. The monument outside of the hall, which commemorates its opening in 1897, has been temporarily removed to be restored and will be returned when work is complete.

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