JM Architects

Mixed-use complex in Edinburgh’s financial district approved in principle

A £150 million hotel and office complex next to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is expected to be given the green light after a series of alterations were made to the initial proposals.

Known as Exchange 2, the development on the western side of the West Approach Road will include a four-star business hotel with up to 400 rooms and a catering academy and hotel training school intended to provide jobs and training for 200 young people.

Three separate new buildings are involved and part of the development will mean building on top of an existing electricity substation. The scheme would retain the B-listed façade of the three-storey Scottish Power office building in Dewar Place.

The go-ahead was delayed after concerns were voiced over the height of the buildings. But now changes have been made to the top storeys of two of the three proposed blocks and councillors have given the project their backing.

Catalyst Capital is funding the project, which is being proposed by a consortium including Duddingston House Properties, the developer behind plans to turn the old Royal High School into a luxury hotel, and designed by JM Architects.

The catering academy is to be run in conjunction with Queen Margaret University and the hotel training school with Edinburgh Napier University.

Julian Newiss, chairman of Catalyst Capital, said the development would enhance Edinburgh as one of the most successful and dynamic cities in Europe.

He said: “We’re obviously delighted that the proposals have been approved and are keen to press on with the development as quickly as possible.

“We firmly believe that this is a ‘game changer’ for the tourism industry in the city, and we look forward to creating a high-quality development that will be unique in Britain.

“Our aim is no less than to create a development that delivers jobs and prioritises recruitment and training of local residents. And we’re determined see those people being recruited into tourism careers, not just jobs.

“Tourism is the world’s biggest business and Edinburgh can continue to go from strength to strength with smart, high quality strategic investments like Exchange 2.”

The developers will be expected to pay around £2.5m towards the city’s tram network.

Work could start later this year with a completion due in 2020.

New housing development to help regenerate Dumbarton town centre

Managers and staff from Cullross, Marshall Construction, JM Architects, Dunbritton and West Dunbartonshire Council on-site at Dumbarton Harbour

Dunbritton Housing Association has announced the start of work on a new development that will deliver 150 high-quality affordable homes in Dumbarton town centre.

The development, on the site that was occupied by Ballantine’s Whisky Distillery for many years, was made possible through innovative partnership working between the Scottish Government, West Dunbartonshire Council, Dunbritton Housing Association, Cullross and the Bank of Scotland.

The contract to build the new homes has been awarded to Marshall Construction and the groundworks will begin in January 2018, with the first homes scheduled to be ready by March 2019.

Dunbritton’s chief executive officer, Allan Murphy, said: “I am delighted to see this major development of new homes for rent coming to life in the heart of Dumbarton’s town centre.

The Association has built an excellent track record of delivering high-quality homes for rent across Argyll & Bute and West Dunbartonshire thanks to our close working relationships with local councils.

“I would also like to thank the Scottish Government for their continuing support through grant funding. Without this, developments like this would not be possible.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with Cullross and Marshall Construction to deliver the project.

“Finally I’d like to thank the Bank of Scotland for their positive approach to working with us on the financial elements of this development.”

Sephton MacQuire, Dunbritton’s chair, said: “This development will breathe new life into the town centre, enabling local people to enjoy living in affordable homes right on the Harbour side.

“Phases 1 and 2 will deliver 150 much-needed quality to this area and on behalf of the Board of Management I’d like to thank all of the partners who have worked together to make this possible. We also have ambitious plans for other developments including 26 new homes that are already under way at Succoth near Arrochar.”

Ryan Fletcher, managing director of Cullross, said: “I’m delighted to be here celebrating that the main building contract has been let to Marshall Construction. This is a large and exciting project for everyone involved.

“The works to upgrade the Quay Walls have begun and the site has been pegged out ready for earthworks to start in January.

“We look forward to delivering these much needed affordable homes over the coming months ahead.”

Green light for Edinburgh student accommodation development

How the Calton Road development will look

How the Calton Road development will look

Crosslane Student Developments has secured planning consent to deliver an 83-bed purpose-built student accommodation development on Calton Road in Edinburgh.

The site is currently a car valeting business and is located opposite the New Parliament House.

The high specification four storey student accommodation scheme will comprise 80 en-suite studio apartments and three one bedroom flats, with common room, washer/driers, gym, outdoor courtyard and cycle storage.

Crosslane has appointed JM Architects to design the new development.

The student accommodation provider, which is part of the Crosslane Group,  has also secured planning approval for a 307 bed development in Swansea.

Completion of both schemes is due in time for the 2019/20 academic year.

Jon Stewart, director at Crosslane Student Developments, said: “Crosslane is delighted to have secured planning consent for two new purpose-built student accommodation developments on Calton Road, Edinburgh and The Kingsway, Swansea. Both schemes are right in the heart of the city centre and within very easy reach of the local universities. At 307 and 83 beds, respectively, they will help to provide efficient solutions to the shortage of quality housing for students in their respective cities.”

Hotel and office plans unveiled for Edinburgh’s Exchange district

JM Architects Edinburgh ExchangePlanning permission in principle (PPP) is being sought for a proposed mixed-use transformation of an electricity substation in Edinburgh’s Exchange district.

Under plans by JM Architects, the Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) site at 2 Dewar Place will be transformed to accommodate 4,500sq/m of office space, two hotels containing 550 rooms, as well as retail and leisure uses.

JM Architects Edinburgh Exchange 6The scheme will constitute three separate buildings, each rising on top of a central podium on a constricted site which is also bisected by a main line railway tunnel connecting Haymarket with Waverley.

It is intended that the hotels will be located centrally within the site, to make the optimum use of the proposed connections from the site to the Exchange across the new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the West Approach Road.

JM Architects Edinburgh Exchange 5At the site’s northern edge, a landmark building accommodating office space is proposed, to take advantage of the existing commercial character of Canning Street/ Rutland Square, and to deliver a “high quality statement building in this somewhat neglected, yet highly prominent gateway to the site”.

Small-scale retail and bars/restaurants complete the mix of uses as proposed, and these are likely to occupy the ground floor space within the site.

JM Architects Edinburgh Exchange 4The application also seeks full approval for the maximum height of the overall development and any limits of deviation to the siting and massing of the development, and for the location of routes through the site and points of access and egress.

A set of plans will accompany the PPP application which fix the maximum footprint of the proposed hotel buildings, and the maximum development ‘envelope’.

JM Architects Edinburgh Exchange 3The proposed development will be based on an approved masterplan prepared for the site by PLP Architects in 2010.

Financial close reached on Gorbals & Woodside health and care centres

Gorbals Health and Care Centre

Gorbals Health and Care Centre

hub West Scotland has reached financial close on the Gorbals and Woodside health and care centres, signalling a £35 million investment in health and social care infrastructure.

Designed by JM Architects and Page/Park, the new facilities will be constructed by Morgan Sindall and are being delivered on behalf of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership and Glasgow City Council.

The new Gorbals Health and Care Centre, situated on Sandiefield Road, will house NHS services including GP surgeries, social services, treatments rooms and community space.

The Woodside Health and Care Centre will be located at Doncaster Street, replacing the existing facility in Barr Street. It will provide GP surgeries, dental, physiotherapy and adult day services, alongside community services such as health visiting, district nursing and the older people’s team and home care.

The developments, which follow on from the recently opened health and care centres at Eastwood and Maryhill, will be open to the public by the end of 2018.

These projects will be followed by a further £40m investment in health and social care facilities in Clydebank and Greenock.

Both projects are in the development stage with contemporary facilities being designed to meet the needs of modern health and social care requirements.

Dundee jute mill to be revamped into serviced apartments

Lower Dens Works

Lower Dens Works

Plans to create serviced apartments at the site of a former Dundee jute mill have been approved by the local authority.

Proposals submitted by CSAM Ltd will see Dens Street Mill and St Roque’s Mill, located in the city’s East Marketgait area, transformed into 81 rooms with an adjacent car park on the site.

The other buildings that make up the Lower Dens Works complex: Bell Mill and North Mill, are subject to a separate planning application for a four star luxury hotel, also by CSAM Limited.

Plans to convert the A-listed Lower Dens Works have long been in the pipeline, with JM Architects having secured permission to create residential units in 2008, but the new plans would see only part of the mill transformed, as the Dens Street Mill and St Roques Mill would be turned into a serviced apartments complex.

A spokesman for JM Architects said: “Our proposal seeks to establish a viable and long-term future for the Lower Dens Works worthy of its place in Dundee’s social and economic history.

“Our key consideration is to do so whilst remaining respectful of the buildings architectural heritage and listing status.”

CSAM Limited said it will maintain the architectural, historical and social significance of the buildings, and have been in discussion with Dundee City Council and Historic Scotland on how to best achieve this.

In the application, the company states: “At its core this project is about achieving a balance between the preservation, regeneration and revitalisation of these historically important buildings and delivering a viable, sustainable and ultimately financially successful development which can bring long term investment and employment to Dundee.

“Our proposal seeks to establish a viable and long term future for the Lower Dens Works worthy of its place in Dundee’s social and economic history.

“Our key consideration is to do so whilst remaining respectful of the building’s architectural heritage and listing status.”

Luxury hotel plan for vacant Dundee mills

Lower Dens Works

Lower Dens Works

Detailed plans for a four-star hotel to be built at the site of a Dundee landmark have been lodged with the local authority.

CSAM Ltd has revealed its proposals to turn the Bell Mill and North Mill at Lower Dens Works on Constable Street into luxury serviced apartments featuring a total of 96 rooms.

Under the plans, the majority of the ground floor of one of the mills will incorporate a cafe and meeting space. The remaining floors will be made up from a combination of 1 bed suites and studio suites.

In a report to Dundee City Council, Aberdeen-based CSAM said they wanted to preserve the industrial heritage and historical “significance” of both of the mills.

The report, submitted by JM Architects on behalf of CSAM, said: “Due the derelict state which Lower Dens Work is currently in, the development of the North Mill and the prominent Bell Mill will be a positive influence on the local area and Dundee as a whole.

“As the economic recovery continues, and the need for full time leisure offering in Dundee becomes more apparent, the feasibility of a successful commercial development returning to the old mill is highly credible.

“UK government regeneration policies make commercial investment in Dundee’s historic stock very attractive for cash-rich investors.”

Developers said the opportunity to develop this area was “compelling”, adding: “It will create local jobs and secure the sustainable future of one of Dundee’s great landmarks.”

Development is due to begin early this year and expected to take around a year-and-a-half.

The report noted a “lengthy” development process, which included an original proposal for flats in 2009 and another application for a three-star hotel, to get the project up and running.

It said: “This process has enabled the final design solution for the North Mill and the Bell Mill to respect the existing form of the buildings.”

The report added: “We believe that our proposals retain and express the elements which are essential to the character of the Lower Dens mill complex, while ensuring that the buildings remain as a testament to Dundee’s industrial heritage.”

Winners revealed at Glasgow Institute of Architects design awards 2016

Ann Nisbet Studio's 'Newhouse of Auchengree' - photograph by Susan Castillo

Ann Nisbet Studio’s ‘Newhouse of Auchengree’ – photograph by Susan Castillo

A zinc clad house in rural North Ayrshire has been selected as the winner of this year’s Supreme Award by the Glasgow Institute of Architects.

A GIA Design Awards panel chaired by Michal Cohen, of Walters and Cohen Architects, described ‘Newhouse of Auchengree’ by Ann Nisbet Studio as “a house with a strong sense of place and location, which made the architectural experience ever more complex. Undoubtedly a great place to live & a fantastic piece of architecture.”

Ann Nisbet (centre) receiving her award

Ann Nisbet (centre) receiving her award

The Education category featured three award winning buildings, the Westwater Building and Saunders Centre by Page\Park and James Gillespies High School by jmarchitects; praised as “a well organised and well scaled series of intricate buildings that form a new campus each with clear programmed identity”.

This year’s Sustainability award, sponsored by Brown and Wallace, was awarded to HLM Architects for ‘Tigh na Croit’, a passive house standard highland home. Page\Park’s Westwater Building was also celebrated for its use of timber, and awarded the ‘Wood for Good’ prize.

Dakota Deluxe by 3Dreid

Dakota Deluxe by 3DReid

The Dakota Deluxe, a reconfiguration of a 1960s office building on Pitt Street by 3DReid was awarded in the Commercial category.

Awards were also given to Glasgow Women’s Library, by Collective Architecture and Ballymena Heath and Care Centre, a collaboration between Glasgow based Keppie Design and Hoskins Architects.

Inside Collective Architecture's Glasgow Women's Library

Inside Collective Architecture’s Glasgow Women’s Library – photograph by Keith Hunter

Mhor Micro, a duo of pavilions in Perthshire forming part of an annual creative laboratory, was celebrated in the Small Works category for providing “a unique opportunity for young architects to prototype and create beautiful small scale installations in an inspiring location”.

This year also saw the return of the Small Practice Portfolio, awarded to Ayr based ARPL. Dress for the Weather and Roots Architecture were both awarded commendations in the category.

Award winenrs ARPL

Small Practice Portfolio award winners ARPL

The awards were presented by Michal Cohen and GIA President Tim Gray at the annual members dinner, sponsored by IKO Polymeric at Oran Mor on the 4th November 2016.

The GIA Design Awards 2016 were kindly sponsored by Tobermore and are open to all practices within the Glasgow Chapter boundary. Practices outside of Glasgow are also invited to submit projects completed within the chapter boundary in the last year.

GIA President Tim Gray

GIA President Tim Gray

Full list of awards / commendations:


  • Saltcoats Town Hall Restoration – McLean Architects – Commendation
  • Paisley Community Safety Hub – Collective Architecture – Commendation

Small Works

  • Mhor Micro – Line Architecture – Award
  • Graphical House – INCH Architecture – Commendation
  • Brackenhill Cottage, The Lodge – jmarchitects – shortlisted


  • Newhouse of Auchengree – Ann Nisbet Studio – Award and Supreme Award
  • Fernan Gardens – Anderson Bell and Christie – Commendation
  • Tigh na Croit – HLM Architects – Sustainability Award
  • Sighthill Regeneration – Collective Architecture – Shortlisted
  • Parkview – Page\Park – Shortlisted


  • Dakota Deluxe – 3D Reid – Award
  • Finnieston Sub-station – NORR – Commendation
  • Premier Inn – Holmes Miller – Commendation
  • Glasgow Collective Studios – Dress for the Weather – Shortlisted


  • The Westwater Building – Dollar Academy – Page\Park Architects – Award and Wood for Good
  • The Saunders Centre – The Glasgow Academy – Page\Park Architects – Award
  • James Gillespie’s High School – jmarchitects – Award
  • Holmes Miller – Harris Academy – Shortlisted

Leisure / Arts

  • Glasgow Women’s Library – Collective Architecture – award
  • Helensburgh Outdoor Museum – Austin-Smith Lord LLP – commendation
  • Theatre Royal Dumfries – ARPL – Shortlisted


  • Ballymena Health and Care Centre – Keppie Design Ltd and Hoskins Architects – Award
  • Lennoxtown Community Hub – Anderston Bell and Christie – Commendation

Small Practice Portfolio Award

  • APRL – Winner
  • Dress for the Weather – Commendation
  • Roots Architecture Ltd – Commendation

Robertson wins major contract for Aberdeen school

south-of-the-cityRobertson has been named preferred bidder for a 25-year contract to supply facilities management services at the Aberdeen South of the City High School.

The new school, on a site between Wellington Road and Redmoss Road, commenced construction in the summer and is due for completion by the start of 2018.

Robertson’s Facilities Management division won a competitive tender and is already supporting the project.

Designed to accommodate up to 1,350 pupils, the school will replace Torry and Kincorth Academies and is to include a three-storey teaching block, a separate sports block with swimming pool and an all-weather sports pitch.

Ian Gibson

Ian Gibson

Ian Gibson, managing director, Robertson Facilities Management, said: “This is a major win for Robertson, and is yet more evidence of our status as a trusted contractor in the education sector.

“We are already hard at work, with our development team currently advising on designs. Across the contract, we will be offering Hard FM and life cycle maintenance services and look forward to welcoming pupils to what will be a state-of-the-art facility upon completion.”

The £42 million project is being led by hub North Scotland, built by Balfour Beatty and was designed by JM Architects.

Work begins on new £47m Aberdeen secondary school

south-of-the-cityBalfour Beatty has started work on a new £47 million state-of-the-art secondary school at Bobby Calder Park in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City Council’s convener of education and children’s services committee, Councillor Angela Taylor cut the first sod to mark the start of construction of the south of the city academy, which will replace the existing Kincorth Academy and Torry Academy.

Director of education and children’s services, Gayle Gorman, and pupils from Torry Academy, Kincorth Academy and Primary Five pupils from the academies Associated School Groups (ASG) also attended the sod cutting event. The Primary Five pupils will be the first pupils to attend the south of the city academy when it opens at the start of the academic year in August 2018.

Designed by JM Architects Ltd, the four-storey building will provide 21st century educational facilities for up 1,350 pupils from the Torry, Kincorth, Nigg and Cove areas of the city, with a focus on STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Links have already been established with local businesses to promote STEM and entrepreneurial activities.

The inclusion agenda is at the heart of the design with small learning spaces throughout for pupils with additional support needs. The school will also build on the culture of creative and performing arts which already exist in Kincorth and Torry Academies.

Sports facilities will include a dance studio, fitness suite, games hall, six lane 25metre swimming pool, environmental gardens, grass and 3G pitches. It will provide community facilities for leisure and recreation purposes out with the school day.

Councillor Taylor said: “The building of a new £47m south of the city academy shows this council’s commitment to deliver the best possible educational and community environments for its residents in Torry, Kincorth, Nigg and Cove.

“Education in Aberdeen is about raising aspiration and inspiring ambition without barriers, and by investing in our school estate and improving resources we will enable children to open their minds to greater possibilities.

“Education has the power to transform children’s lives and we want children to be engaged and inspired at their school and by doing so inspire their community and the people of Aberdeen.”

Gayle Gorman added: “This is an exciting opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art academy for our children in the south of the city. This new school will provide the ideal educational, social and inclusive environment to enable all our children to reach their full potential.”

The school build will be project managed by hub North Scotland and is due to be completed mid-June 2018.