Edinburgh office space named one of UK's best workplaces

AN office space in Edinburgh's historic Old Town was named one of the best workplaces in the UK last night.
5 Advocate's Close was named one of the best workplaces in the UK. Picture: Contributed5 Advocate's Close was named one of the best workplaces in the UK. Picture: Contributed
5 Advocate's Close was named one of the best workplaces in the UK. Picture: Contributed

Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s World Heritage site, the office development at 5 Advocate’s Close was recognised by the British Council for Offices (BCO) at their annual National Awards ceremony.

The development was completed in 2015 at a cost of £45 million and involved the restoration of four ancient closes dating back to the mid-16th century. It was named Britain’s best development that same year.

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Advocate’s Close named Britain’s best development
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And this year the development has shone bright yet again, impressing the British Council’s panel of judges for its design aesthetics and innovation.

The manner in which the development maintains the world-famous views of the Old Town from across the Waverley valley and how it re-establishes the enclosure of The Close at pedestrian level were among a number of key areas which stood out.

The panel noted the difficulties that faced the builders as the development occupies a site that could not be accessed by crane or machinery - meaning it was essentially built by hand.

Advocate’s Close’s playful mix of historic-looking features and contemporary flourishes was also taken into account, likewise its outdoor terrace, which creates a relaxing breakout space from the busy office environment.

Speaking to Scottish Construction Now, Stephen Lewis, chair of the BCO judging panel in Scotland, said: “To build in the epicentre of a world heritage site demands not only genuine understanding of the surrounding architecture but also incredibly refined skills. 5 Advocate’s Close fully embodies Morgan McDonnell’s understanding of the world-renowned history of the site; and the new building now has its own story to tell, thanks to the equally innovative and traditional skills required to bring it to life. Being Highly Commended at the national awards demonstrates that this development offers space to rival anywhere in the UK, but with a rich history found nowhere else.”

Richard Kauntze, chief executive of the BCO, said: “An undeniable challenge, 5 Advocate’s Close makes intelligent use of limited space to create a modern flexible office environment without excessive spending. The project represents a triumph of historic building techniques, showcasing the hard work and determination of the developers to achieve their vision. 5 Advocate’s Close is an innovative piece of contemporary architecture and well deserving of the Highly Commended accolade.”