Dr Michael Rovatsos
Director, Bayes Centre
Founding Director, Bennetts Associates
The Bayes Centre brings together academics and students working in the fields of Data Technology, Design Informatics, Maths and Robotics with start-up / spin-out companies and industrial collaborators. It is a building worthy of Edinburgh’s reputation and leadership in these fields.
An impressive atrium with break out areas, open plan working spaces and a large ground floor café facilitates interaction between different disciplines, bringing together departments previously spread across the city in many smaller buildings. A venue is provided for conferences, seminars and social events for academics from across the UK and beyond. Collaborators can enjoy the fourth floor roof garden with its stunning views of Arthur’s Seat.
The proposal occupies a pivotal piece of the University’s estate and acts as a prominent gateway into the University Quarter. It is the final phase of the Potterrow Development, following the completion of the much lauded Informatics Forum and Dugald Stewart Building, also by Bennetts Associates and completed in 2008. We are fortunate to have this opportunity to complete the urban block and courtyard of the original scheme.
The new building adheres to the general principles of the original design and uses the same external materials: sandstone from Berwick to the outside of the city block and polished white concrete to the interior of the courtyard, with prominent feature windows and double height balconies on a city scale. The entrance colonnade on Potterrow and the oak lining to protected walls and soffits give coherence to the whole block. Public routes across the site are maintained, enhanced by a tree-filled courtyard with access to the public café opening onto this.
Internally we have considered the building to be a cousin of Informatics rather than a twin. An impressive five-storey top-lit atrium space has the same helical white steel stairs, but also has the main stair flying across the atrium and back at high level. Cellular offices, open-plan working areas, meeting rooms, coffee areas and break out spaces support the 600-660 people working here. At ground and first floors there are large state of the art Robotics labs that showcase the University’s groundbreaking work.
As the major component of the University of Edinburgh’s new masterplan for the George Square and Bristo Square area, the Potterrow Development replaces a windswept car park with a rich mix of buildings, courtyards and reinstated streetlines.