Inspirational architecture in Edinburgh’s city centre
In the decade since Terry Farrell and Partners founded their office in Scotland, three major buildings and two public squares have been designed and constructed in the capital. This book, lavishly illustrated in colour throughout, explores the philosophy and implementation of responding to context in creating sensitive, yet innovative and bold, interventions to the design culture of a capital.
The Exchange Financial District master plan, won in competition in 1989, draws on Terry Farrell’s enthusiasm for ‘gentle architecture’. The distinctive drum-like form of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, completed in 1995, landmarks the site and forms a set piece within the urban mass. At the heart of the project is the triangular Conference Square, which forms the main public space for the Conference Centre. Nearby is a diversity of public spaces and walkways that resemble public rooms and corridors within a building. TFP’s master plan incorporates elements of contrast and surprise. For example, the angular Sheraton Spa, squeezed into an uncompromisingly small plot of land, provides a startling visual juxtaposition with the circular Conference Centre.
The driving forces behind the Edinburgh master plan are historical continuity, the integration of old and new, pedestrian access, and the quest for richness and diversity. Terry Farrell and Partners’ singular concept of urban design allows an incremental approach that encourages the area to take shape in its own way. Confronting the reality of the urban situation – rather than prescribing utopian visions – is an integral part of TFP’s outlook.