Gareth Hoskins Architects, Glasgow Design Studio, Architecture Competition Scotland Entry

Gareth Hoskins Galleries Entry

Princes Street Galleries, Edinburgh Design Competition: Urban Architecure Contest

post updated 2 September 2023

Gareth Hoskins Architects : information on key projects / buildings

Gareth Hoskins Architects

Spirit of Scotland
Gareth Hoskins wins Spirit of Scotland Art Prize, 28 Nov 2008

A vibrant new civic focus for Edinburgh

The Princes Street Galleries project has the potential to bring a new quality of retail back into the City of Edinburgh to reinvigorate its currently dwindling commercial centre.

However for the project to happen within Edinburgh’s City centre, a setting of such World heritage significance and sensitivity, it needs to be more than simply another anonymous shopping mall. Whilst the provision of such new retail space is key to enabling the much needed revitalisation of a strong retail heart within the City, for it to be allowed within such a clearly significant site, it needs to be valued as a sensitive and positive addition to the city’s heritage and character rather than an as act of ‘commercial vandalism’.

The scheme needs to bring a wider civic benefit to the people and the City of Edinburgh. As such the Galleries should be more than another Waverley Market (now Princes Mall – Ed), they need to create a new place within the city that makes both a vibrant and attractive environment for shoppers and retailers and a thoughtful and appropriate addition to the amenity and rich urban fabric of Edinburgh.

The colloquium demonstrated that Edinburgh has historically evolved through a series of bold urban developments that have resulted in the rich picturesque contrast between the fabric of the Old and New Towns. The debate also reinforced that there were areas within this fabric that, whilst significant in terms of their city centre location, fail to contribute greatly to the character or public quality of the City. The East Gardens, the site for the Galleries, was described in such terms by the consultants developing the consultation plan for the Gardens; a place valued sentimentally as any ‘green’ spaces are within a city, but far from the original vision and with the clear potential for change that improves their character, public amenity and use.

As such our design for the Galleries is a bold new addition to the urban fabric of Edinburgh that interweaves the practicalities and demands of the retailers with a considered rethinking of the sensitive setting of Princes Street and the East Gardens. Our proposal is for an open civic space focused around the Scott Monument, which forms a vibrant new place for retail within the City; a place that connects between the existing retail and urban fabric of the New Town and the green space of the Gardens, to create a visible and urban alternative to the covered mall.

This open retail ‘street’ has a number of significant advantages over an enclosed mall; greater presence and visibility for the retailers, a more attractive and accessible environment for those shopping and living within the City, a clearer relationship to and continuation of the character of the existing fabric of the City, and simpler operational needs and commercial flexibility. With the lower capital and revenue costs associated with the scheme, it has the potential to implement a wider rethinking and reinvigoration of the Gardens and the city fabric around the East end of Princes Street.

The design proposes a bold, complimentary addition to the unique fabric of the City of Edinburgh. It is a design that looks beyond the conceptions of a shopping centre, to create a place of public activity that contributes to the economy and culture of Edinburgh – a design that creates a vibrant new civic and retail focus of an urban scale and presence appropriate to one of Europe’s major capital cities.

Princes Street Galleries information from Gareth Hoskins: Competition information 2003

Robin House – design by Gareth Hoskins Architects
Robin House
photo : Andrew Lee

Gareth Hoskins Architects Building : Saughton Visitor Centre, Edinburgh

Major Scottish Buildings

Key Buildings in Scotland Articles – architectural selection below:

Solasta Riverside Building Buchanan Wharf
Solasta Riverside Building Buchanan Wharf flats
image courtesy of Drum Property Group
Solasta Riverside Building Buchanan Wharf

University of Glasgow ARC
University of Glasgow Advanced Research Centre building
photo courtesy of UoG
University of Glasgow Advanced Research Centre

Emirates Arena Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome

Glasgow Buildings

Gareth Hoskins Architects, Glasgow : contact details – see Glasgow Architects link

Glasgow Transport Museum

Buildings / photos for the Princes Street Galleries Architecture design by Gareth Hoskins Architects page welcome.