Renovation work wins architecture awards
Renovation works carried out by the University's Estates Department at St Cecilia's Hall and the McEwan Hall have won several prestigious architecture awards.
St Cecilia’s Concert Hall and The McEwan Hall both received Royal Incorporated Architects in Scotland Awards (RIAS) at a ceremony on 20th June. These highly prestigious awards are recognition of the recent renovation and refurbishment of these historic buildings by the University's Estates Department.
St Cecilia's was the overall winner in the Conservation category at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awards with the McEwan Hall being highly commended in the same category.
St Cecilia’s was also the winner of the Regeneration and Conservation award at the Edinburgh Architectural Association Awards 2018 which recognises the successful integration of the old and the new.
The refurbishment project at St Cecilia’s Hall has transformed the original Georgian building to make it fit-for-purpose and reclaim its position as a key cultural and ceremonial space for the University. Disabled access to all areas is now in place and new heating has been installed to maintain the correct humidity to protect the valuable musical instrument collections displayed in the University’s music museum which is open to the public.
Designed for the Edinburgh Musical Society, St Cecilia’s Hall is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall and home to the University’s collection of historic musical instruments from around the world. It is also used as a teaching and performance space and it is claimed that it is the only place in the world where you can hear 18th-century music, played on 18th-century instruments in an 18th-century setting.
The restoration of McEwan Hall has recaptured the building’s former glory. The project was a combination of sympathetic new build and meticulous restoration. The University’s Estates Department worked with LDN Architects investing in repairing the building fabric, upgrading service installations and addressing historical accessibility issues to allow the building to continue to fulfil its role at the heart of University life.
What was previously the basement has been opened up to create a new entrance hall and visitor spaces underneath Bristo Square. There a new corner stairwell providing access to all levels and a free-standing entrance pavilion in the square provides universal access to the building for the first time allowing the building to be used more frequently as a venue to host public events such as music events and conferences.
Generous donations from alumni and friends helped to restore the University’s graduating hall to its original status as a major asset for both the University community and the city of Edinburgh.