Preserving Scotland’s Heritage

Our development vision is to create a conservation-led project which has diligently followed ICOMOS guidelines, leaving the Hamilton Building – the Old Royal High School’s iconic neo-classical centrepiece – improved but largely structurally untouched by the development process. The Scottish heritage of this iconic building should be reflected in the redevelopment of the Old Royal High School. Our vision is to create a future that reflects the aspirations of The Old Royal High School’s past, helping to improve the Scottish economy through investment opportunities and job prospects.

The Hamilton Building will be transformed into a publicly accessible entry point and central focus for the Rosewood Hotel. The magnificent building, designed by celebrated architect Thomas Hamilton in 1826, has been in a state of decline and disrepair for the last 40 years and is on the Buildings at Risk Register. Our proposals will restore the Hamilton Building to its former glory without negating the Scottish heritage within its architecture and be an accessible and largely unaltered centrepiece for the Rosewood Hotel.

The revised submission will transform the Hamilton Building as part of a £75 million design project which will retain virtually all of the original structure of the building whilst creating a welcoming and inclusive internal environment for the first time in its history. This will ensure it remains as one of the nation’s most treasured landmarked buildings.

The revised proposals retain the elements of the original scheme, yet substantially reduce the scale of the hotel’s western bedroom wing as well as reducing design interventions to the listed centrepiece building. The new design lowers by almost a quarter the height and a third of the volume of the western wing, with the number of rooms being reduced from 147 to 127.

The initial application was well received by planning officials and heritage experts in certain key respects:

  • The Council’s planning report (10/12/15) stated: “The architecture proposed is a sophisticated response to the site’s sensitive context”
  • The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland stated “This is architecture of a very high calibre”.  The Architecture & Design Scotland Design Forum added: “The proposals are well-considered and supported and have the potential to enhance the city setting”

The revised proposal was also recognised for its architectural merit by the City of Edinburgh Council planners…

  • The council’s planning report (31/08/17): “The architecture is a clearly considered architectural response to locating a large building within a sensitive context.”

…and crucially by the replacement to the Royal Fine Art Commission:

  • A letter to the developers from Architecture & Design Scotland (03/04/17) welcomed the changes of the revised proposal, recognising “reductions in the scale, massing and proportion of the extensions and the more clearly established massing parameters in the context of the setting of Calton Hill.”