Market Street Hotel
Described as being ‘of international significance’ and occupying a prominent position within Edinburgh’s World Heritage site, is the imposing new eight storey 98-bedroom Market Street Hotel which has made a dramatic debut on Market Street.
The hotel site is bedded into the hard urban edge of Edinburgh’s Old Town. This ‘edge’ is comprised of a collective construct of the hundreds of stone buildings which run up the spine of castle hill to the great fortress itself.
Seen from the adjacent New Town and Princes Street, this ‘wall’ of stone rises above the parklands of Waverley valley to create the beautifully layered composition of stacked stone and slate, and the iconic skyline of spires and turrets that makes Edinburgh famous around the world.
General Manager of Market Street hotel, Jill Darling, said:
“The hotel is situated at the very heart of the city, it’s such a vibrant and spirited area of Edinburgh and is the perfect spot for guests to explore it’s rich culture and atmosphere.
“We’re incredibly proud to call Edinburgh our home and as with the exterior, the interiors of the hotel include subtle nods to the city throughout, particularly the Nor’ Loft – our champagne lounge. It’s an understated space with a relaxed vibe and was named after the Nor’ Loch, which filled the space we now know as Princes Street Gardens. It’s set to be the most coveted hang-out for locals and visitors alike and the panoramic views are second to none.
“We’ve created a space with a truly unique, vibrant and infectious energy and we’re looking forward to welcoming our first guests this summer.”
The new hotel was designed by JM Architects and constructed by main contractors Sharkey Group, with ISG being responsible for base build construction.
Ewan Thomson of JM Architects said: “We won the project in a competition run by the council who were very keen to develop the site, which was quite challenging from a technical point of view.”
The site itself was created some time ago with the demolition of a decrepit tenement building in the 1960s. For the five decades that followed, a gaping hole was left in the edge of the historic city like a missing tooth in the face of the Old Town.
Ewan Thomson said: “Our aim was to unify this gap site with an adjacent site occupied by a derelict 1930s garage building and to complete the city façade and heal this solitary ‘scar’ with a new building that is of its time and of its place and truly respectful of its World Heritage context.”
Strongly influenced by the architecture and ambience of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the design of the hotel is intended to be non-invasive and respectful of its neighbouring buildings, while at the same time of its own time and culture.
The project was unique given that no earlier attempts had been fully realised over a relatively long period. The architectural design of the building was driven by the idea that the spatial compositions and materiality of the adjacent Scottish Baronial historic context should be emphasised, with the contemporary architecture acknowledging the past without imitating it.
The new steelwork and foundations were designed to work around the existing foundations and structure of the garage building, whilst also incorporating propping to retain the rear of the site where the ground rises to the equivalent of three stories above Market Street.
Ewan Thomson said: “As we developed the design of the Market St elevation, we reviewed stone options with the British Geological Society and found a stone from within 90 miles of the site, that is both visually and geologically a strong match for Edinburgh’s historic Craiglieth sandstone (now no longer available).
“The rooftops and articulated recesses to the building are hewn from dark stone. This beautiful natural material blends well with the surrounding dark weathered sandstones and slate roofs and the building’s vertical whinstone recesses evoke the dark shadowy slots of the medieval ‘closes’ which still punctuate the Old Town vista to this day.”
The courtyard elevation to the south adopts white brick; common in the old town of Edinburgh, to bring light down into the landscaped courtyard gardens below.
The hotel roof form is truly unique and is designed to blend into the rooftops of the Old Town and the dramatic skyline of the Royal Mile beyond. Its intriguing folded form is utilised to house the restaurant and reception.
The positioning of reception in the attic storey with access by high speed lift breaks away from the traditional approach of check-in at ground floor and ensures the guest’s first experience within the hotel is the spectacular panoramic vistas of the city from the luxurious surroundings of the executive lounge.
The bedrooms have been designed in a large variety of configurations and with many different outlooks to the city, offering a highly individual guest experience to each visitor.
Ewan Thomson commented: “A key challenge of the project was to design a building to complete and complement a wider historic context reaching from the North Bridge to Edinburgh Castle. Through vast amounts of research and consultation with statutory bodies and heritage groups, we defined a site-specific approach that integrates itself into the existing context while retaining a sense of confidence and individuality.
“At the same time, it was important to ensure the provision of a modern and exciting guest experience befitting a hotel of international significance. The building is highly visible and in a key location, so this was a prestigious project to work on.”
Hutton Stone Co Ltd
Launched in the Scottish Borders in June 1994, Hutton Stone Co Ltd extract and manufacture the finest quality Natural stone masonry products and supply the general Construction, Heritage and New Build sectors.
Marcus Paine, Managing Director of Hutton Stone said: “As the fifth generation of my Family Quarrying and supplying natural stone masonry products we are extremely proud of our heritage within the sector and what consistently remains important for us is the care we have for our customers and their projects. We understand that we are part of a team on any successful project and our intent is to work consistently and collaboratively with Site, providing best quality, allowing the Skilled Fixers to create excellent built results and a finish that meets the Clients expectations.”
In its 25 years of business, the company has completed work on high profile projects, including the award-winning 4 year restoration of McEwan Hall in Edinburgh, The Edinburgh University Old College Quadrangle, the Edinburgh University Data Technology Institute and the award-winning Spens Building at Fettes College Edinburgh. Recently Hutton Stone completed work at Market Street Hotel, supplying all of the Craigleith matching Hazeldean Sandstone. It also assisted early on by providing a report listing the various stone types that had been used historically in and around the area for the proposed development.
Marcus added: “Our report of stone types used historically within the area was effective as it gave confidence to Specifiers and Planners that the choice of indigenous natural stone that we were suggesting had justification and of course it then follows that by using proven good geological matches in new developments that they will weather and behave just as their older surroundings have and providing assurance that the feel of new and existing built heritage will be blended over time and complimentary.”