Edinburgh Printmakers wins Zero Waste Scotland Circular Economy Award

Written By

Suzy O’Leary

14.9.2021 News

We are delighted to find out today that Edinburgh Printmakers – the conversion of a derelict listed industrial building into a welcoming multi-use arts complex – has been named as the winner of Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy Award, a Special Category Award of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland’s (RIAS) Awards.

The Edinburgh Printmakers creative hub is located within the former headquarters of the North British Rubber Company (NBRC). Our project involved the redevelopment of this derelict building into a multi-use arts complex centred around printmaking production. Central to the architectural concept was to make precise interventions to facilitate new use while respecting the character and story of the existing building.

A circular economy is part of the solution to the global climate emergency – one in which products, services and systems are designed to maximise their value and minimise waste. Through this award, as well as wider programme of events and training, the RIAS and Zero Waste Scotland have worked in partnership over several years to promote circular economy approaches to building design and placemaking, with a view to minimising the construction industry’s environmental impact.

The Edinburgh Printmakers project has conservation and recovery at its heart, using the assets of the old building wherever possible in the construction of the new.  This included windows, bricks, timber structure, slate and doors in innovative ways to retain character as well as retain the value of the materials and reduce the embodied carbon footprint of the build. The building demonstrates circularity principles in its retention of assets and materials and how it has made things last, whilst delivering a modern building with a lower whole life carbon footprint than the new build alternative. As a business, Edinburgh Printmakers also supports a circular economy by selling time on printmaking equipment, a resource efficient and low carbon approach that avoids the waste of individual artists buying their own equipment.

Stephen Boyle, Construction Manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Reducing construction waste begins at the drawing board. Incorporating the circular economy into planning and building design will help to reduce the consumption of virgin materials at the outset. As well as this, it will optimise resource-efficient maintenance and repair, and maximise the reuse of materials at the end.

“This is true not just for the individual materials that make up buildings but the buildings themselves. Reusing a building at the end of its life will avoid unnecessary waste and environmental impacts while at the same time creating innovative places for people to live and work. The winner of this award exemplifies this perfectly.

“This award from the RIAS is a welcome acknowledgement of the need for a circular economy in Scotland. Congratulations to the team behind Edinburgh Printmakers, who are worthy winners of the Circular Economy award.”

RIAS President Christina Gaiger PRIAS said: “The environmental impact of buildings and the construction industry is enormous, and applying circular economy principles to building design will therefore be critical if we are to address the climate emergency. Architects clearly have a huge role to play, and I would like to congratulate Page\Park Architects for their exemplary and inspirational re-use of an existing building for Edinburgh Printmakers. I am also very grateful to Zero Waste Scotland for sponsoring this important award, and for their work alongside the RIAS to promote a greener and more environmentally sustainable built environment.”

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Collaborating with: James Rigler