University of Edinburgh Student Centre
University of Edinburgh
George Square / Bristo Square, Edinburgh
Internal Floor Area
A Student City
This ambitious scheme for the University of Edinburgh will create a new dedicated hub for students, bringing together Student Services from the University and the Students’ Association for the first time. The new Student Centre will provide a single location to access services that support student employability, finance, administration, wellbeing, and success, both inside and outside the classroom.
Teviot Row House, the oldest purpose built Students’ Union in the world, will be sensitively refurbished and extended, making the Category-B listed building accessible to all, and improving and expanding the range of services offered. Social spaces, catering, retail, bars, offices, and a new live music venue are included in the complex and comprehensive program of services. Multi-level connections will be formed with a new Student Services building at No.1 George Square; including across the re-imagined Charles Street Lane, which, at the centre of the development, will create improved routes through the city block.
Opened in 1899, Teviot Row House was designed in a 16th century ‘Scots Palace’ style, with the crow stepped gables and drum towers reminiscent of the Palaces at Falkland and Holyrood. The building also contains a distinctive stacking of Baronial-type spaces, from the ground floor entrance courts, to the first floor gallery rooms, to the second floor Debating Hall. The new proposals seek to preserve and build on these themes, with the contemporary elements adopting a similar conceptual arrangement.
Externally the project addresses a series of varying contextual situations with a unifying architecture style, presenting the appearance of a conjoined project, but ensuring that the two new elements maintain a distinct character, reflecting the two sets of users.
Heritage & Conservation
A key element of the project is the refurbishment and adaptation of the Category-B listed Teviot Row House. Including both fabric repairs and internal alterations. The project requires to balance the sensitive consideration of Teviot’s character with improving accessibility and modernising the Student facilities.
Sitting within the Edinburgh World Heritage Site and in close proximity to several listed buildings, the sensitive location has required close collaboration with the local authority, students, alumni and local amenity groups throughout the development of the scheme.
City & Land
The ‘Student City’ concept extends to the external areas, where the landscape is imagined as a contiguous series of gardens and courts. With each having unique identities, contexts, and orientations, the landscaped spaces represent the rich diversity of the student experience, and provide a year-round setting for study, socialising, and celebration.
The brief development for the Student Centre has been a collaborative process. PagePark have engaged with students, staff, estates teams and other key stakeholders to develop a robust design brief which meets the aims and aspirations of the University. The process has involved online surveys, workshops, pop-up events, and public consultations
We have been working closely with the client user groups to develop an interiors strategy for each of the existing and new spaces. The historic building, which is loved by students past and present, will be sensitively restored to its original character. The new building parts will provide flexible and contemporary settings for a variety of student based activities.
Student experience is at the heart of this project. The new and refurbished buildings and the surrounding urban context will provide inspiring, inviting, sustainable, and distinctive settings for University students, staff, visitors, and the general public.
There are a number of existing and proposed performance spaces within Teviot Row House, including the historic Debating Hall, and a new purpose-built 800 capacity multi-use venue. In addition, bar areas throughout the building will have the ability to accommodate live performances. As well as being used by Students and the public throughout the academic year, these spaces are in great demand for all forms of performance at the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, during the summer months.