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Edinburgh St James

Edinburgh, TH Real Estate

OPEN was appointed in 2014 to develop public realm proposals for Edinburgh St James, a new mixed-use development within Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site. This £850m project is based around a new retail quarter with associated hotel, restaurant, cinema and residential uses. The public realm and landscape elements of the project include streets, squares, an internal galleria and rooftop terraces.

The development redefines a significant ‘city block’ within Edinburgh’s East End. The public realm responds to this using a sensitive palette and approach at the perimeter, with the central spaces becoming more contemporary.

Working with the design team, OPEN has developed a clear and sensitive approach to the routes through the site, drawing inspiration from the New Town and interpreting this to provide a contemporary streetscape that enhances legibility for all users. This network of routes is punctuated with three main Squares, each having a different character and approach that responds to its context, scale and associated uses.

The curving Galleria provides an organising ‘spine’ for retail on four levels. The paving within the Galleria draws inspiration from a typical external street, but with an additional level of refinement befitting an internal space. At the upper levels, softer terraces and gardens associated with hotel and residential uses is to be implemented, incorporating rainwater attenuation.

The public realm and landscape proposals were submitted as part of a Primary Reserved Matters application in December 2014, and were subsequently approved in August 2015. OPEN has also provided supporting public realm and landscape information for two listed building consent applications, and for the Central Hotel proposals.