This new community facility provides support to the homeless and disadvantaged in Edinburgh. The new building continues the historic use of the site which has long been associated with the provision of care for the homeless. The building is constructed on a site previously occupied by three derelict warehouses and is an extension to the existing Kirkhouse building which provides support services to help the homeless integrate back into the wider community.
The building incorporates consultation rooms, a workshop for furniture making and arts and crafts, teaching facilities for domestic sciences, a public café and a lettable community hall which provides vital income to fund the social enterprise activities.
The site itself presented some structural challenges, including the proximity of adjacent tenement structures and masonry buttresses requiring alteration or temporary support. The historic graveyard of Greyfriars Kirk forms the south boundary of the site and is retained by an eight metre high masonry wall. Detailed investigation of the wall and its foundations was required to facilitate the design and construction of the new building.
The city centre location and restricted site area meant that buildability and health and safety issues during construction had to be addressed in detail during the design phase. In determining the choice of construction material, consideration was given to sustainability issues and the practicality of delivery, installation and construction of components.
Careful consideration to the foundation solution was required to prevent any movement of the historic structures surrounding the site. Close consultation with the city Archaeologists was required throughout the groundworks stage.