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Welcome to the Winter 2012/13 Newsletter of Richard Murphy Architects

Welcome to the Winter 2012/13 Newsletter of Richard Murphy Architects


Good news comes in twos. Design work on both Perth Theatre and Dunfermline Museum & Art Gallery is now to be resumed as a result of major funding boosts for both projects. Just before Christmas Perth and Kinross Council voted to close most of the funding gap in this project which was won by Richard Murphy Architects in 2010 and gained planning permission in 2011. More funding is planned to complete the project. Meanwhile the National Heritage Lottery Fund last Friday voted a £2.9m grant to our 2007 competition winning Museum & Art Gallery in Dunfermline, the only Scottish project to receive funds in this round. Both projects can be seen on their respective websites. Perth Theatre is anticipated to be on site in early 2014 and Dunfermline shortly after.

Dunfermline Museum & Art Gallery

Dunfermline Museum & Art Gallery - View from Garden.

Perth Theatre - Sectional Perspective

Perth Theatre - Sectional Perspective.


New House in Dalkey, Near Dublin

A 400sq m house on a spectacular sloping site is about to be submitted for planning permission. The house steps down the hill towards a panoramic view of Dublin Bay but at the same time keeps under the restriction for a public view-line imposed by the planning authorities. The project is expected to be on site later this year.


Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, Courtyard Perspective

The University, for whom we are already building at Young Street in Cambridge, have commissioned us to think radical thoughts for the rear half of their campus at East Road, also in Cambridge. This has now led to a master-plan commission. Designs produced so far are; new facilities, entrance and foyer for both Arts and Science Faculties, a general teaching building and at the heart of the campus, a new library supporting new science “super-lab” above. The illustration shows the Science Faculty courtyard and atrium.

Meanwhile we have been shortlisted for a competition for a new £10m university library at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, London.


Edinburgh Academy - New Pavilions

Edinburgh Academy, Rugby Pavilion.

Edinburgh Academy - New Pavilions 

Edinburgh Academy, Rugby and Hockey Pavilion. 


Extension in Revelston Dykes

Following in the tradition of the office’s house extensions these new larger alterations to the rear of this 1920’s house provide new living spaces, kitchen and playroom. The project will be on site in July.

Meanwhile, a very unusual house conversion has come into the office: the renovation of a four storey Italian house in the village of Perini near Rovereto. Not far from Verona, this is a happy coincidence as Richard is collaborating with the Castelvecchio Museum there on a second and expanded version of his 1991 book “Carlo Scarpa and the Castelvecchio” to be ready for Christmas 2013.


Edinburgh Academy Junior School Classrooms

Edinburgh University's combined heat and power plant at the Pleasance is now on site and our postgraduate residences nearby should also start construction in March this year. Meanwhile, Edinburgh Academy Junior School classrooms are almost complete and represent another part of overall master plan for the campus at Arboretum Road. With six months to go our £23m social housing project at the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has begun to take shape;

Social Housing, Ex-Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh

the south west core is now virtually complete.We have also been commissioned by CAIR Scotland to design a nursery school on the ground floor of the project. At the other end of the scale the house for Richard at Hart Street now has a basement and the steel frame is to be erected at the end of February. In Cambridge work to both “The Ragged School” a conversion into a music therapy centre and our larger project at Young Street have both started on site.

Anglia Ruskin University, Young Street, Cambridge


James Mason spoke about the practice's work to the Cumberland Society of Architects in November and Richard spoke in the exhibition “21 Years, 21 Awards” staged at the RIBA in November. He will also be speaking about the work of the practice at Nottingham University at 6.00pm on 14th February and at De Montfort University in Leicester, also on 14th February, at 2 pm.

In the autumn The Architects’ Journal featured Richard in its regular “Archive” article – this was the reissue of an article first published when Richard was interviewed in 1994 whilst lecturing at the RIBA on the practice’s work  and was timed to coincide with our exhibition at the RIBA late last year. 

Our post-graduate student housing for Queen’s University Belfast (designed with RPP Architects) is a featured month in the 2013 Perspective calendar!  Perspective is the journal of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects and their magazine for November/December also featured the project in a comprehensive review entitled “Desire under the Elms” (the name of the building) it was described as “an innovative and very original project”.

The List Guide “We Create – A Celebration of Scotland’s Creative Talents” included our High Commission Building in Sri Lanka in a feature called “Take 5 Scottish Buildings”.  Five buildings by Scottish based architects were  shown.

Finally, the practice’s social housing at Quartermile, Edinburgh was featured in Nordan’s December newsletter – the article is called “Edinburgh’s Quartermile: Biggest Regeneration Project in Scotland”.

An eight part new BBC2 series titled “The Planners” started last Thursday evening. Richard has been filmed for the programme in connection with an ill-fated planning appeal for our proposals for a new house near Earlston in the Borders. The relevant programme is on the 28th February.


Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Book Launch

Book launch "questions and answers" at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh.

The occasion of our twenty-first birthday was marked by a new book published by Artifice Publishing ( and an exhibition at the RIBA. Two book launches took place, in London and in Edinburgh and a dinner was held at the Maggies Centre, Edinburgh for all those who had contributed to the book. The launch at the Fruitmarket was very well attended and chaired by Nick Barley from the Edinburgh Book Festival. On the panel alongside Richard was Sir Richard MacCormac, who wrote the introductory essay to the book, and Charlie Sutherland of Sutherland Hussey Architects. Reaction to the book has been universally positive. In correspondence Kenneth Frampton the New York critic described the office as “one of the most prolific organic architects in the UK” and Peter Carolin ex-editor of the Architects’ Journal described ”being bowled over and hugely impressed.” In Edinburgh the book is for sale at the Fruitmarket Gallery and the RIAS, or from our office and in London at the RIBA at £29.95. A new exhibition about the practice’s work is to be staged at the Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, Edinburgh between 13th July and 24th August.

Book Launch Dinner at Edinburgh Maggie's Centre

Dinner at Maggie's Centre, Edinburgh as a thank-you to the many clients and others who have contributed articles to the new book.


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