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Cycle Friendly Employer!

We are acutely aware of the impacts that the design of our urban places can have on travel behaviour, health and wellbeing and as such we want to encourage travel behaviour that will be beneficial to the city and our team. When we choose active travel (walking & cycling) to get to work we are healthier and more productive. Evidence suggests that people who cycle to work are fitter, healthier and happier.

To mark this we are making regular SSM Group Cycles, to help colleagues less experienced or maybe nervous about cycling have a chance to cycle in a safe manner.

Fresh Thinking

We are now using Edinburgh Community Food for our weekly staff fruit delivery. It is widely accepted that a healthier workforce is happier, more focused, better motivated and more productive. By choosing Edinburgh Community Food we are not only helping make sure we have healthier working lives, we are also giving something back by supporting the charitable work they do to promote healthy eating in communities across Edinburgh.

SSM Summer BBQ

Last Friday we all headed down to our regular haunt Seacliff, East Lothian for our annual summer BBQ. The weather was glorious and a great time was had by old and new members of the SSM family. Competitive sports were the highlight of the day with some enjoying the victories more than others. Fingers crossed for the weather next year for a bigger and better event.

Neil Forrester Promoted

We are pleased to announce that Senior Architect Neil Forrester is promoted to the role of Associate within the Practice. Neil joined Smith Scott Mullan Associates 15 years ago and has developed his career alongside the growth of the Practice, fronting many of our residential projects including the award-winning Fortune Place. Neil has a wealth of experience and knowledge in leading projects and is also our BIM Manager.  We congratulate Neil on his new position and look forward to his input into the management of the Practice.

Town Centre Conference

Alistair Chaired the afternoon session at the Town Centre Conference held in Ayr Town Hall on 10 April 2019. Building on the Scottish Government’s current policy focus on town centre regeneration, the conference focussed on specific delivery issues of conservation and redevelopment in small towns, such as the restoration of listed buildings, community asset purchase and the use of compulsory purchase orders. Speakers included Philip Prentice of Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Una Richards of The Scottish Historic Buildings Trust.

SSM Employee – The New President of the EAA

We are delighted that Ben Rainger, a Senior Architect within our Practice has been elected the new President of the Edinburgh Architects Association for the coming year. Ben is looking forward to continuing the work of the EAA and working with the existing and new EAA council members in promoting all aspects of architecture in the chapter area and beyond through stimulating thought and discussion, with a particular emphasis on sustainability and diversity. We are positive Ben will be an amazing asset to the Association. Good Luck Ben!

SSM Client’s Night 2019

This year we again welcomed our clients, colleagues and friends to our Leith Studio for our annual jazz night. A wonderful evening was had by all providing light music, great conversation and a chance to network with various arms of architecture, construction and delivery. We are already looking forward to next year’s event and with a keen eye on building on this year’s success.

Planning submitted for Edinburgh Biomes

Planning applications have been submitted for Edinburgh Biomes, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s ambitious project to protect its unique and globally important plant collection. The £50m project involves seven new buildings and three refurbishments across two sites.

Designed by us and Nicoll Russell Studios, the project focuses on both the public and research glasshouses at the Garden. On the public side, we will conserve and refurbish the magnificent Victorian Palm Houses and the unique 1967 glasshouses with their steel lattice exo-skeleton. This succession of A-Listed nineteenth and twentieth century glasshouses will be complemented by a new, twenty-first century public glasshouse by NRS. A revised visitor route through the glasshouses will enhance the display of the plant collection to promote public understanding of plant biodiversity, conservation and research.

We have redesigned the support areas to provide a substantial new glasshouse to safeguard the research collections, an Education Centre and a Horticultural Building. We will add two further buildings on the Garden’s nearby Nursery site. The Plant Health Suite will provide a new national asset in the field of plant health and bio-security. It will receive and monitor new plant specimens collected from across the world and will contain world-class plant pathology and micro-propagation laboratories. The Sustainable Energy Centre will serve both sites and, in conjunction with the improved efficiency of the new buildings, will substantially reduce the Garden’s carbon footprint by producing both heat and electricity through a combination of ground-source heat pumps, combined heat and power engines and gas boilers.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is an internationally renowned centre of excellence in plant biodiversity research and conservation, an education provider and a major tourist attraction. As we progress into the next stage, we are proud to have helped the Garden reach this major milestone in delivering potentially the most significant project in its history.

Caring Place Work

How can we design our towns to create more caring places for older people which enables them to live independently and well for longer? Working with Architecture & Design Scotland and Open Change we reviewed existing research, identified some great case study examples and sought to answer this question through a public sector client interactive workshop.

We made use of the excellent Scottish Towns Partnership online resource which provides information on every town in Scotland to identify two typical example towns, one with a population of less than 3,000 people and one with a population between 3,000 and 10,000. The nature of these towns was captured through the range of facilities, the quality of connections and its relationship to adjacent towns.

The work was also informed by a series of older person personas that outlined their physical condition, capability to continue working, enthusiasm to do volunteering, and level of support from friends and family. Creating a story which reflects the practicalities and realities for a variety of older people. The lives of these older people were considered in the context of the two typical towns and the physical and service solutions which would create better places for these people.

The World Health Organisation has published excellent guidance on the eight characteristics of an Age Friendly City from transportation to civic participation and this identifies opportunities for excellent design to assist with creating town centre caring places. There are a range of design solutions which can assist such as high quality accessible civic spaces, leisure opportunities and housing near to facilities, many of these we managed to achieve in the design of public realm at Castle Square, Stranraer.

The workshop tested a format and a toolkit which will be developed to assist public sector organisations to assess existing towns and see how design and service delivery can create more caring and supportive towns. There are great opportunities for this to be applied through the Scottish Government Place Standard and we look forward to the next opportunity to apply this to one of our master planning projects. https://www.ads.org.uk/event-a-caring-place-public-sector-client-forum/

National Museum of Scotland

We have been working on the design and delivery of three new galleries that will complete the transformation of the National Museum of Scotland. These galleries, dedicated to ‘Ancient Egypt Rediscovered’, ‘Exploring East Asia’ and the ‘Art of Ceramics’, are the final part a 15-year journey, restoring one of the UK’s finest Victorian buildings, revealing remarkable treasures, and creating inspiring learning experiences to engage more visitors. The object installation is now complete with the new galleries due to open to the public on 8 February 2019.