St Leonards Student Accommodation Project, Edinburgh

Project Value £27m | Project Duration 19 Months


St Leonards Student Accommodation in Edinburgh is a six-storey, 550 bedrooms mixed-use development of UNITE student accommodation, Class 1 (Retail) / Class 2 (Financial, Professional and other Services) and associated facilities.

The proposed building is designed around a central courtyard providing a communal area in which students can safely gather and interact. With direct access from St Leonard’s Street, the building has been carefully considered to respect the rhythm and historic scale of the adjacent Georgian and Victorian tenements on Parkside Terrace and Parkside Street.

The building is divided into discrete frontages that step down the street, reinforcing the vertical rhythm of the street while tracking the important datums such as eaves and rooflines dictated by the existing tenements.

The proposed building is held back from the street in a similar manner to the tenements of Parkside Terrace and a clear gap maintained between the site and St Leonard’s Church. This allows the key views to Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags to be maintained and the spire of St Leonard’s Church remains a focal element when viewed from Lutton Place.

The Development

The architectural approach to this project has been extremely fast-paced. This has been due to the upcoming occupation for Edinburgh universities returning as well as new students, and to facilitate the world-renowned annual Edinburgh Festival, which sees an influx of students and festival goers all seeking accommodation (often months in advance).

In this development, each bedroom has been installed with stand-alone bedroom pods, connecting across all floors via service risers which were to be fire stopped as part of our works package. The volume of services was astronomical and the access to said risers diminishing by the day.

Ensuring our actions were undertaken in a timely and economical manner, avoiding delay to programming, we regularly liaised with the main contractor, pod supplier, M&E contractor and design team on a weekly basis.

We approached this project with fluidity, often increasing and decreasing our labour attendances to ensure that all project milestones were met without delay.

It has been a genuinely collaborative undertaking, and we are delighted to have been a part of this project.