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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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/
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.
Image: Senior Curator Dr Margaret Maitland with a mummy case: by Neil Hanna
SSM were appointed as Architects, lead designer and Contract Administrator to deliver the renovation of Edinburgh Leisure’s Dalry Swim Centre. Works to the Category B listed Victorian Baths included a full refurbishment of the pool hall including new shower and changing facilities. Gym facilities and staff areas throughout were also renovated bringing the entire facility up to modern operational standards. The building was opened to the public and it’s first swimmers this morning. We look forward to working with Edinburgh Leisure again in the future.
Photo Credit: Chris Watt Photography
Smith Scott Mullan Associates has been working with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh since 2008 to help it develop its vision for Edinburgh Biomes, an ambitious project to protect its unique and globally important plant collection. We have already completed a new research glasshouse and other enabling works, and we are excited as the project enters the next phase.
Once completed, Edinburgh Biomes will secure the RBGE’s work for future generations and provide a spectacular new visitor experience for the public. RBGE has taken this unique opportunity to explore visionary proposals that will not only cover conservation and repairs but deliver world-leading facilities that will protect the work of this national institution for the future.
The Victorian Palm Houses and the unique 1960s glasshouses with their external structural frame are all Category A Listed and will be fully refurbished, not only securing the future of the buildings but also ensuring that they continue to provide a safe environment for the RBGE’s plant collection. Comprising over 13,500 plant species, the collection includes many plants that are endangered or extinct in their native habitats.
The project includes a new state-of-the-art plant health suite and a new, efficient, eco-friendly sustainable energy centre in the Nursery to the north of the main Garden. The new plant health suite will provide a safe propagation environment. The new energy centre will introduce ground source heat pumps which, coupled with new low heat loss pipework, will reduce the carbon footprint of the glasshouses by 12 per cent.
Simon Milne MBE, Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh Biomes is potentially the most significant project in the Garden’s history. We are one of the top four botanic gardens in the world and these proposals will enable us to continue our pioneering work for Scotland and the world. At a time when 20% of the world’s plant species are at risk from extinction our work is more important than ever.
“Our heritage glasshouses need extensive restoration to save them for the nation. Our research glasshouses, critical to the work we do in Scotland and around the world, are well beyond their lifespan and are already suffering during extreme weather. They will only survive a few more years without essential upgrades. As the seasons pass, the risks are increasing, so prompt action is necessary.
“As part of this project and as guardians of one of the world’s most significant scientific and horticultural resources, we will redevelop our facilities to sustain RBGE as a leader in plant science, horticulture, biodiversity, education and conservation and ensure our collection thrives for generations to come.
“Edinburgh Biomes has the vision and potential to attract, excite and engage people of all nationalities and walks of life. We appreciate its ambition and sincerely hope that the people of Edinburgh and Scotland will support and share our proposals to maintain our vital work.”
RBGE received initial funding from the Scottish Government to take the project to Planning Permission stage and continues to work with Ministers on the next stage which will also include a major fund-raising appeal. If approved, Edinburgh Biomes would be delivered across a staged build to allow for the decanting and relocation of seasonally sensitive plants over several years.
Have you seen the YouTube video of older people in a driverless car? The reaction is priceless! Eugene recently spent a day immersed in the design of age friendly housing and communities at the Housing Care 21 conference in Birmingham. The room full of practitioners, academics and experts considered and discussed the opportunities and the challenges of design, development and management of places for older people and those experiencing dementia.
Greg Shaw a Director at the International Federation on Ageing provided his experience from Toronto with a particularly interesting point on the benefits to people and the system of providing more restorative care and re-enablement programmes which help people to return to independent living.
Julia Park, Chair of the RIBA Housing Group noted the absurdity of the stark binary choice for older people. To live with family (which may not be practical) or to live with a group of strangers and encouraged us to consider more attractive options of living with friends or those with shared interest. She showed some examples of great design for older people.
The workshop session on the potential of digital technology highlighted the importance of the end user experience driving the technology and not the other way around. We got an insight into “The Internet of Things” and the scope for this to monitor, analyse and control data within care housing. There was significant concern for the practicalities of keeping up with the pace of technological change, the privacy issues and the need for robust regulations, if the substantial benefits of technology are to be realised.
There was dismay at the continuing unacceptable prevalence of ageism in society, a view which came across very strongly at our older people Knowledge Café sessions last least year as part of our research into Design for an Ageing Population.
The design of the physical environment and housing plays a significant role in creating an age friendly neighbourhood and we will be applying many of these principles to our existing and future projects.