McDonald Road Fire Station

Our comprehensive remodelling and retrofit of McDonald Road Community Fire Station to become the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s City of Edinburgh Headquarters has been completed.

Our design approach was to rationalise the internal layout of the building to improve the building’s street presence with identifiable entrances. The existing building was a mish-mash of spaces that had been altered in a piecemeal fashion over time, and our design has rationalised and reorganized the building to create a series of connected spaces, allowing the building to multi-task as a live fire station, headquarters and a Museum of Fire Heritage, due to open later this year.

Externally, the strategy was to acknowledge the existing mix of horizontal and vertical elements and the inconsistent nature of the structural grid, adopting a defined top and bottom around the principal corner at Dryden Terrace. This approach created a vertical ribbed screen along the ground floor, behind which sit the more private functions and opening up key areas of the building including the museum, principal rooms and key entrances.

The appearance and energy performance of the building have been completely transformed by replacing the external envelope. The building now makes a positive contribution to the streetscape, whilst the retention of the existing concrete frame has saved 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide compared to demolition.

Project Architect: Ben Rainger, Jamie Bateman