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Scottish Design Award for Castle Mills

Transforming a derelict former factory to a state of the art printmaking studio

 

We’re truly honoured that our incredible home at Castle Mills has won another architectural award for PagePark Architects – picking up first prize in the Building Reuse category of the Scottish Design Awards.

 

We share the first prize with the Faithlee Centre in Fraserburgh and the judges at this year’s online ceremony said they were hugely impressed by the quality of work in this category in particular, awarding two first prizes and one commendation.

 

Castle Mills also won the 'Project of the Year - Scotland' at the RICS (Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors) Social Impact Awards for Scotland.

We opened the doors to our new home in Spring 2019, having successfully completed the faithful restoration of this incredible, derelict 19th century building.

When Edinburgh Printmakers began work at the former rubber factory, the building was not far off needing to be demolished despite only having been empty for eight years.

Castle Mills has now not only been saved, but transformed into an exciting and accessible building for the 21st century, and has been removed from the buildings at risk register.

 

Castle Mills is the last visible reminder of a 22 acre factory complex. Up to 9000 people worked here at its peak, including generation to generation of the same families. The car tyre was invented here before the patent was sold to Dunlop in 1907. In 1914 during the second world war, NBRC designed the welly boot to protect soldiers from trench foot, manufacturing over a million pairs of boots that were said to be the envy of the German troops.

The transformation to a multi-use arts building has been a labour of love and Edinburgh Printmakers now offers a printmaking studio, classes, an artists’ residency programme and a print club for children and young people; two public galleries; a shop; on site studios for creatives and meeting room and learning studio hires; a flat for visiting artists, a courtyard / community garden, and a café.

The new structures still contain deliberate echoes of the original rubber factory and the later use as a brewery by Scottish and Newcastle, telling the story of the building’s industrial heritage.

The print studio sits at first floor level in the expansive former joinery workshop. Fabric repair works were carried out as necessary, but the patina of one hundred and fifty years of occupation was maintained.

Where original fabric was no longer required it was repurposed. Old glazed bricks found behind layers of plaster in the basement were re-used to make the café counter. Large timber doors were re-imagined as tables in the café. Bespoke shop fittings were designed using plywood, steel and rubber in a nod to the industrial heritage.

Shân Edwards, Chief Executive at Edinburgh Printmakers, told us :”We are absolutely delighted that the huge amount of work which Page/Park and the entire project team put into transforming a dangerous and near derelict building into a light, bright, state of the art printmaking studio has been recognised in this reward.

“We are in the process of gradually reopening to artists and the sheer amount of space we have in this incredible building means we are able to get back to work in our studio with social distancing in place and keep everyone safe. We can’t wait to be able to welcome everyone back to our café, shop and gallery spaces and start to show off our amazing home to the public again.”

You can watch the Scottish Design Awards’ online presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n581tRIw9YM we’re about 37 minutes in under the Building Reuse category.