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Former hospital to be converted

Go-ahead for university institute project

Edinburgh former Royal Infirmary

New lease of life: former infirmary to become university institute


Edinburgh University has secured planning approval to convert the A-listed former Royal Infirmary Surgical Hospital at Quartermile into a major new research space.

The final undeveloped part of the old hospital will be used for the study of the economy, education and global societies.

Edinburgh Futures Institute is being designed by Bennetts Associates together with Faithful + Gould as project managers.

They will retain the ward pavilions as part of 230,000 sq ft of floorspace, of which 65,000 sq ft is new construction.

New four-storey “infill buildings” will be constructed in the two courtyards between the east and west hospital wards and will provide space for lecture halls and teaching spaces.

The University hopes to start main construction next year opening to students in mid-2021.

Modern additions to the hospital have already been demolished in readiness for the conversion, which will see the historic hospital sensitively restored and extended to create a modern and flexible academic base including a public square, gardens and underground events space and lecture theatres.

Rab Bennetts said: “Having worked continuously for the University of Edinburgh for 14 years we are acutely aware of the importance this project has to the institution and to the city.

“The Edinburgh Futures Institute demonstrates the University’s ambitions, not only in the world of higher education, but also in architectural patronage. We are privileged to see our ideas for new interventions so readily adopted.”

Vice-principal professor Dorothy Miell, added: “The world is experiencing major changes: climate volatility, political discontent, advances in artificial intelligence, economic upheavals. This presents big challenges. We need different ways of thinking about these issues and of devising new solutions.”

The institute is the single largest project to date in the university’s £1.5 billion masterplan for the next ten years.

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