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Student housing and placemaking of global significance

Holyrood North Postgraduate Student Accommodation

Holyrood North postgraduate student accommodation8


University of Edinburgh & Balfour Beatty Investments





Contemporary place making within a World Heritage context, this award-winning development builds a new neighbourhood combining student living with fully integrated Community Outreach, teaching, café and retail spaces.

The background

Holyrood North is a groundbreaking development realised within the University of Edinburgh’s student residential portfolio. The complete development provides nearly twelve hundred student beds for postgraduate students along with an innovative outreach centre and student engagement/social space, created in the extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage site of Edinburgh’s Old Town. 

We were appointed as both Design Team lead and architect to work in collaboration with the wider design team, contractor and client and deliver the overall vision from concept to completion.  

Holyrood North postgraduate student accommodation
Holyrood North postgraduate student accommodation7
Holyrood North postgraduate student accommodation4

The Design Approach

The project delivers a portfolio of contemporary buildings nestled within exciting and contextual urban spaces that establish a cohesive community feel in the heart of the University’s Holyrood campus.

The aspiration was for a unique, innovative and world-class approach to the delivery of residential accommodation and amenity space in an educational setting, responding to a changing global student market. The development also sought to create a distinctive environment – a world within a world - which considered the themes of privacy for study, coming together through informal and chance encounters, to more formal gatherings.

A large-scale 450-bedroom ‘collegiate’ Residence Hall sits in the heart of the development with four domestic-scale buildings around the periphery of the site. A cafe, laundry, retail and outreach centre, serving both the University and community, bridges community and academia along principal bustling thoroughfares, offering flexible and adaptable accommodation for continued learning, community education and event facilities.

Holyrood North postgraduate student accommodation6

The project provides contemporary buildings with exciting and responsive urban spaces that establish a cohesive community feel in the heart of the University’s Holyrood campus.

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Holyrood North postgraduate student accommodation2

The Impact

The development was the recipient of multiple design awards including the inaugural RIAS President's Medal for Placemaking, securing our second Scottish Government Excellence in Planning Award.

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Holyrood North Residence Hall and Outreach Centre successfully delivers modern, sustainable accommodation, economically and at scale, while simultaneously preserving and enhancing the astonishing urban context.

Andrew Wilmot



Cadzow Pelosi

Andrew Wilmot Partner Residential lead

If you would like to know more about our work in this sector, please get in touch.

Email Andrew

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