Old brewery site sets the scene for a new Holyrood community

Official opening of The Tun, Holyrood Road, on 30 January 2002 by Sir David Steel, presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament.

A striking contemporary building opens its doors this week in Edinburgh (30 January 2002) to organisations that will play a day-to-day part in the workings of the Scottish Parliament and the lives of people in Scotland.

The Tun – part of an £8 million development by Whiteburn on part of the old Scottish & Newcastle breweries site – sits next to the new Scottish Parliament. The Tun will house the BBC’s new, state-of-the-art parliamentary studios as well as organisations including the European Parliament, the British Council Scotland, the Commission for Racial Equality, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The development is further proof that the decision to build the Parliament at Holyrood has resulted in major investment in the eastern part of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Even now, well before the new Parliament building opens its doors, a real and tangible “Holyrood Campus” is taking place with a growing number of communities of interest deciding to base their activities close to the Parliament.

The Tun itself, a fine contemporary building – has an unusual sloping front, which provides spectacular views of the Salisbury Crags – the result of an architectural competition won by Edinburgh firm, Allan Murray Architects. It was engineered by Arup Scotland and looks set to become one of the Old Town’s focal landmarks.

The Tun cleverly combines the existing structure of the former East Tun brewery with a striking seven-storey addition fronting Holyrood Road, clad in pre-patinated copper, weathered zinc and glass. The former brewery has been gutted but the original brick walls retained. The rooftop area has been set aside for a restaurant, which will have panoramic views of the city skyline.

John Shepherd, Managing Director of Whiteburn, pointed out that The Tun development was an integral part of the master plan originally envisaged for the Holyrood North Site, the only part of the Holyrood Project that fell within the Historic Old Town Conservation area which is now a World Heritage Site.

He said: “In converting this derelict brewery building, we have kept a vestige of the area’s original, industrial heritage and created a striking contemporary landmark in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The Tun looks set to be a prime centre for media, government liaison and cultural promotion. This building will be a new “fermentation vessel” in which many of the key initiatives affecting Scotland’s economic, cultural and political aspirations within the UK, Europe and beyond will be brewed.”

The Tun forms the commercial hub of the North Site, which includes housing developments by the Old Town Housing Association and others, buildings for Edinburgh University, the Scottish Poetry Library, the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland and the McDonald Holyrood Hotel. In addition to the roof top restaurant space, there are a number of specialist retail units at The Tun, for which Whiteburn’s letting agents McGregors are seeking a variety of occupiers, such as hairdressers, newsagents, dry cleaners and coffees shops to service this burgeoning community.

The North Site master plan was drawn up by John Hope for Development Services Partnership Limited who won the competition held to develop this site during 1992-93. Their vision was that the site would be split into smaller plots and each plot would have a different architect and end-user to reflect the diverse styles and uses of the Old Town. Proceeds from the development have contributed to the creation of the Dynamic Earth Centre on the south side of Holyrood.

John Hope’s layout for the North Site took on the linear forms of the Old Town and reintroduced closes and pedestrian walkways. Although only one building on the site was listed, six were retained to engender the mix of styles and ages of buildings rather than a totally modern environment.

Whiteburn have also just completed the acquisition of the neighbouring Clock Tower building for development to provide a further restaurant opportunity to complement The Tun.

Notes for Editors

The Holyrood North Site covers some 4.5 acres which, based on the John Hope layout, Development Services Partnership Limited split into 17 individual plots. The total development cost is about £50 million although the development value is now probably at least double that figure. The majority of the funding has been provided by private sources. Public Funding on the North Site has accounted for approximately £3 million of the development cost with approximately £1 million from LEEL for the demolition and accommodation works, approximately £1.3 million grant from Scottish Homes for the social housing developments and £0.7 million from the Scottish Arts lottery fund for the Scottish Poetry Library. The final plots, with Planning Consent for a restaurant and offices respectively will be completed by early 2003.