Advocate’s Close named UK’s best development at RICS Awards 2015.

The £45m regeneration of Advocate’s Close, led by Chris Stewart Group, was crowned the UK’s Project of the Year 2015 by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors at a ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel, London.

The development, which sits in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, was recognised as successfully creating “a vibrant new quarter within a previous run-down and unloved part of the city.” Having rehabilitated the existing buildings on site, the judges commended the project “for being extremely sensitive when inserting more contemporary additions to the location, which helped breathe a new leave of life into this World Heritage Site.”

devils advocate

David Tuffin FRICS, Chairman of the judging panel, said:

“Careful conservation, coupled with sensitive interventions and a clear use of new material and finishes, has produced an imaginative mixed-use scheme.”

The regeneration project, just of the Royal Mile, has created a new 208 room hotel, 50 serviced apartments, restaurant space and office accommodation from a mix of 11 different tightly packed buildings. Working on a site of great historic significance, the project included preserving or recreating extensive historical architectural features and reinstating the original ‘massing’ or shaping of buildings in a contemporary context.

The site includes one of Edinburgh’s oldest townhouses, dating from the 1500s, and has revealed buried interconnecting passageways linking Advocate’s Close to Roxburgh’s Close. The design has also created new vistas and a new easier flow through the area which allows visitors to better appreciate its historical nature and city centre location.

the townhouse at old town chambers

Chris Stewart, CEO of Chris Stewart Group, added:

“The recognition that the Advocate’s Close development has received through this and its many other awards shows that high standards of design and innovation in a historical context can bring Edinburgh international attention.”

Advocate’s Close was also named Britain’s best building as winner of the RIAS Andrew Doolan Award in 2014.

DECEMBER 2015