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Sun May 16 2021

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Cala starts new-build work in Donaldson’s grounds

5 Jun 17 Construction work has started in the grounds of the historic site of Donaldson’s School for the Deaf in Edinburgh.

The Crescent is being built alongside the 1851 William Playfair building
The Crescent is being built alongside the 1851 William Playfair building

The school moved to a new purpose-built campus in Linlithgow, West Lothian in 2008 and its old premises in Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site is being developed into housing.

Cala Homes is leading the construction project, to designs by architect Richard Murphy. The design of the new-build Crescent is considered complementary to the turreted Playfair building that housed the school.

David McGrath, managing director of Cala Homes (East), said: ““It is rare enough to earn the chance to create new homes in a World Heritage Site – let alone to be working in a location as special as Edinburgh’s renowned Donaldson’s site. This promises to be a one-of-a-kind development and one that we are extremely proud and excited to be part of.”

The site was bought by Cala Homes but mothballed during the economic downturn, although work continued on the planning.

Cala worked with heritage restoration specialist City & Country for the conversion of the 1851 William Playfair building into a variety of apartments, a process which started in 2016.

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It also progressed plans to create The Crescent at Donaldson’s, a collection of new apartments in the grounds of Donaldson’s. Work on this has now started.

The first stage of the construction involves substantial excavation to create underground parking.

David McGrath added: “Everything about this project makes it so special. The architects have pulled a masterstroke in coming up with designs which are stylish and modern, yet also pay a respectful homage to the World Heritage site.

“Starting the construction process is a huge milestone and we hope The Crescent will become a landmark in its own right for decades to come.”

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