Burd Haward Architects

Burd Haward Architects
24 Wolsey Mews
London NW5 2DX

T: 020 7267 9815

Abbey Strand Buildings

A new Learning Centre and ten short-let apartments in a converted collection of 15th century Category A listed buildings in Edinburgh.

A key element of Future Programme at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Abbey Strand buildings are located at the foot of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, just outside the Palace gates.  The buildings have a rich and fascinating history, but at time of our appointment were in poor repair, unoccupied and unwelcoming.  Our work involved their comprehensive refurbishment and conversion to house a new Learning Centre on the lower floors and ten short-let apartments above.

The layout and detail of the earliest historic fabric was revealed, allowing previous uses to be understood.  Openings were re-established to introduce natural light, connections and views in and out. Removal of cement harling allowed the building to dry out and stonework to be repaired and recorded, giving insight into the historical development of the building. Facades were re-rendered in breathable lime harling, and the thick stone walls insulated internally.

A generous public entrance was created to the Learning Centre, with a new timber stair & platform lift introduced to provide access for all to the first floor, where the historic ‘Midhope Room’ was restored to its original scale, creating a space for learning and lectures. Historic fireplaces were opened up to provide natural ventilation, and new connections made into a new, reimagined historic Physic Garden.

The unique historic spaces can now be enjoyed by the public, the short stretch of street has been reanimated and the relationship of the Palace to the Royal Mile has been transformed.

Client:    Royal Collection Trust

Stages:  RIBA 0 - 6  

ASB 01
ASB 03 v4
ASB 04 v2
ASB 06 v2
ASB 07 v2
ASB 08 v2
ASB 05 v4
ASB 09 v3
ASB 10 v4
ASB 11 v2
ASB 012 v2
AS 01 iso recoloured v2
AS 02 section v2
AS 03 Stonework Repairs v2


Community & Education, Conservation & Retrofit, Housing & Mixed Use


Civic Trust Awards - Highly Commended -

S.P.A.B. Sustainable Heritage Award - Finalist -

Scottish Design Awards - Finalist -

AJ Retrofit Awards - Finalist -