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Welcome to the Summer 2019 Newsletter of Richard Murphy Architects

Welcome to the Summer 2019 Newsletter of Richard Murphy Architects



 Customs House Leith

We are delighted to announce that we have won a keenly fought competitive interview process to be appointed to the first stages of a major project in the former Custom House in Leith. In a press release the client, Scottish Historic Buildings Trust together with the City of Edinburgh Council  "are delighted to announce the appointment of award winning practice Richard Murphy Architects to undertake a feasibility study to secure the future for the Custom House for the benefit of the community of Leith and beyond".

Una Richards, Chief Executive of Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, said: “The work that SHBT has undertaken so far to bring the building to life and draw people to the site has been very successful. As a result, Custom House is now a vibrant artistic hub, and we have brought new life to the Shore and to Commercial Street.....The feasibility study will set out the future vision for the Custom House and will see it given its place back in the heart of Leith, for the community”.


Strathaven and Caernarfon

Two of our most recent buildings have received RIBA Awards. Our house for Colin Mackinnon and Marta Briongos at Strathaven Airfield received an RIBA/RIAS award at a dinner at the Edinburgh Assembly rooms. In Cardiff, on the very same night our extension to our own building, the Galeri Arts Centre in Caernarfon won an RIBA/RSAW award. These latest successes brings our haul of RIBA and RIAI awards to 27; one for every year of our existence! We believe that we have more RIBA Awards than any other architectural practice in Scotland.


 Donaldson's College Housing, Cala Homes on the left, City and Country on the right.

 Our two projects on the site of the former Playfair Donaldson's School for the deaf have both won awards. The conversion of the Grade A listed building into apartments by City and Country won the "Apartment Development of the Year" at the Scottish Home awards 2018; their website can be viewed here. Meanwhile the new crescent of apartments for Cala Homes won "Homes for Scotland, Private Development of the Year - Medium (26-99 units)" and Scottish Homes Awards, "Innovation in Design", "Apartment Development of the Year (Highly Commended)" and "Show Home of the Year (Selling Price over £400,000)"  announced on the 13th June 2019 in Glasgow. Their website can be seen here.  Both projects are about 50% complete. 


Acute Mental Health Facility, City Hospital, Belfast

Our new 80 bed mental hospital at the City Hospital in Belfast, designed in conjunction with RPP and Devereux Architects has been handed over to the Belfast NHS Trust by contractor BAM Ltd. Patients have moved in. It's a revolutionary plan and we hope to get it reviewed in both the medical as well as the architectural press. Richard attended a social evening held for staff, design team and contractor and their families and so far everyone is very pleased and even a patient slipped in to check it out before it officially opened! The pictures show an office trip by our colleagues RPP and one of the gardens around which individual wards are organised.



Greenock Ferry Terminal & George Wyllie Gallery

This highly unusual project of a building housing three different clients is now out to tender with a view to work starting on site in October.




Theosophy Centre

The Theosophy Centre in Cumberland Street Lane South East, Edinburgh has gone out to tender. This is another very unusual project that is essentially a library for the Society's historic book collection, a meeting room and an office. Work is expected to start on site in mid-September.



Kinnear Road, Edinburgh

Our residential project at Kinnear Road for AMA (Kinnear) Ltd is fast approaching three-quarters of the way through its construction period with anticipated completion before the end of the year. All apartments have amazing views over Edinburgh Academy’s playing fields and onto the Castle and Pentland Hills, not least the single, 3rd floor penthouse. All the apartments feature full width, external terraces to take advantage of their southerly aspect whilst the two basement level apartments continue out onto terraced, private gardens.


Donaldson's College Housing, Cala on the left, City and Country on the right.

At Donaldson's College about half of the apartments in the Grade A listed building have now been sold. There a number of varied show flats with some of the more unusual ones being up in the attic with intriguing juxtapositions of contemporary and historic fabric. City and Country's website is here.

The west crescent is progressing with the second core apartments now all sold and occupied. The fit out continues on the last two cores of phase 1. The east crescent (phase 2) construction started on site in mid March and the steel frame is now complete with the external cladding now being applied continuing around the crescent from west to east. The shell & core core contractor BAM is expecting to hand over the east crescent in February 2020. Cala Homes website is here.



Richard has talked about the work of the practice to the Edinburgh Rotary Club, and has lectured on Scarpa in the office of CookFox Architects on a recent visit to New York. He and ex-client Dennis O'Keefe lectured about our designs for dementia care at Stratheden hospital in Fife at an "International Masterclass on Care Design and Ageing" at the Iris Murdoch Centre at Stirling University. Richard talked about our design for Dunfermline Galleries and Museum to the Glasgow Architecture Club and then led a tour around the building. And in November he will be lecturing in Dubai and Kuwait at the invitation of the RIBA providing the "inspiration hour" to the conclusion of RIBA conferences in both countries.


The RIBA Journal and Scottish Homes and Interiors have both featured the RIAS/RIBA Award winning house at Strathaven, the latter devoting eight pages to it. On 22nd June Emma Cullinan wrote a piece on our house in Dalkey in a half page article in the Saturday edition of the Irish Times. Recent professional pictures by Paul Tierney  can be seen on the webpage.


The RSA exhibition "Our Infinite Land" ran until  until 21st July and featured the Strathaven house and the unbuilt house at Earlston as our contribution to architecture in the Scottish landscape.


Maggies's Centre, Edinburgh

As the Western General Hospital has asphalted over more and more of their site flooding has become more and more a problem for the Maggies Centre there. Part of our recent work at the centre as well as to provide a major extension to the building has also been to provide flood defences. We are happy to say that on their first real test they worked! The picture shows what is normally the car park about 600mm deep in water restrained by the new flood wall and rising flood gate.


15 Old Fishmarket Close, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 1RW | Tel 0131 220 6125 |