The project involves a comprehensive restoration of a category-B-listed 1890s former stable block to bring it back into use as a work and events space. It could open in late 2021, subject to planning permission being granted.
Powderhall Stables will be refurbished to deliver a mix of individual studios and working spaces that can be adapted to suit different ways of working. There will also be two large function rooms with catering facilities. The former stable yard to the rear of the building will be turned into an outdoor square, capable of hosting events such as street markets and outdoor exhibitions.
Emma Fairhurst, speaking on behalf of Collective Architecture, said: “Powderhall Stables has such a strong presence on Broughton Road and we are delighted that the proposed works are going to bring new life to this special building. The exterior works focus on careful repair of the stonework, roof and windows along with landscaping works to provide a public square through the opened up pend. Some contemporary larger openings are added to the rear wing, to bring lots of natural daylight into the function spaces and to give views out towards the Water of Leith.
“Internally, artist studios are proposed to be located in individual rooms on the ground floor which were once the horse stables, and the upper floor offers a flexible workspace, in the old hayloft. The function rooms occupy the old workshops and smithy. Few original features remain internally, but we plan to carefully repair and retain these to help tell the story of the original building use."
Powderhall Stables forms part of the wider regeneration of the former Powderhall Waste Transfer Station and the adjacent former bowling green. The development will deliver more than 200 homes – over a third of them affordable – and a new nursery, along with additional green space.
Councillor Kate Campbell, convener of the council’s housing, homelessness, and fair work committee, said: “I'm delighted to see this development progressing. Edinburgh needs flexible, affordable spaces in the city for artists and businesses and Powderhall Stables will support dozens of jobs and the local economy. The current Covid-19 crisis is a reminder of just how important it is for buildings to be flexible and future-proofed - and redevelopments like this will provide the city with more adaptable spaces.
“It's also a great opportunity to drive forward inclusive growth as we recover from the pandemic and provide something which benefits the whole community. Like Powderhall's planned function space, which could be used in a number of ways from after-school clubs to outdoor-only events.”
Councillor Mandy Watt, vice housing, homelessness, and fair work convener, said: “Many people in Edinburgh will have fond memories of this building and will be pleased to see these plans brought forward. We want to restore the Victorian features, create brand new affordable homes and bring it back into community use. The restoration of the stable block will be the centre-piece of this project and make the most of the prime location so that it benefits local workers and the whole area.
“It also comes at an important turning point for the city. Development is going to be crucial as we recover from the current pandemic and more than ever, we need our events and workspaces to be flexible and fit for the future.”