John Gray Centre, Haddington

Completed in March 2012 at a cost of around £4m, the John Gray Centre in Haddington provides a new archive, library, museum and heritage centre for the local community. The heritage centre will house the East Lothian archives which were previously held by the National Archives of Scotland. These historically important archives include a rich mixture of heritage material including photographs, paintings, maps and books, many of which have been in storage and out of public view for a considerable number of years.

The John Gray Centre was created by converting a number of existing interlinked Grade B and Grade C listed council buildings on Lodge Street in Haddington. Previous uses of the buildings included a pub, bank, hotel and grain store. Working with Gray, Marshall & Associates, Architects, areas of damage and decay to the internal and external fabric were identified, allowing appropriate repairs to be carried out to restore the buildings to their former glory.

The heavy floor loads imposed by the new archive store are carried by a steel frame, carefully installed within the original stone-built outer shell of the buildings and carried on new piled foundations. The steel frame supports new concrete and steel composite floors, designed to accommodate the archive floor loads and at the same time provides enhanced restraint and stability to the original stone facades.

A curved glass facade with cantilevered glass roof canopy provides a dramatic new entrance to the building. The entrance atrium contains a beautifully crafted steel and glass stair providing access to the upper floors.