Edinburgh Futures Institute

University of Edinburgh
2015 - 2024

Edinburgh Futures Institute brings new life to the former Royal Infirmary after years of dereliction. The Category A-listed Victorian hospital was in poor condition when the University bought it in 2015, so the project removes unsympathetic extensions, repairs extensive dry rot, restores the key elements to their former glory and stitches new accommodation alongside the existing hospital wards and corridors. 

Phase 1 completed in 2023

The original main entrance by the clocktower is reopened and dramatised by a new public square, with a 450-seat event space within the slope of the ground below.


With the general accommodation and teaching space dispersed across the 22 ward spaces and new courtyard pavilions, the lofty,150-metre long corridors and their linear extensions provide a setting for social learning, chance encounters, informal meetings and spatial integration that will bring the multi-disciplinary institute a sense of community and cohesion. Strong colours are used for wayfinding and identity.


Visual of the future main events space

Externally, landscaped courtyards and embankments on either side of the new square and along Middle Meadow Walk present much-improved, public access, symbolising the Futures Institute’s open relationship with the community it serves.


The whole complex is connected to the University’s central plant network and is being insulated throughout to reduce operational carbon emissions. Studies of embodied carbon also show that retention of the existing building, together with substantial repairs and new extensions, results in emissions that are well under half of a typical newbuild. One of Edinburgh’s most loved historic buildings has acquired a secure future for the next century and beyond.

The full upfront carbon breakdown can be viewed from this link


Over the years

Project Information

  • Client
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Area
  • 21,000 sqm
  • Client
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Project Manager
  • Faithful & Gould
  • Conservation Architect
  • Consarc
  • Structural Engineer
  • Will Rudd Davidson
  • Services Engineer
  • Atkins
  • Landscape Architect
  • Ironside Farrar
  • Fire Engineer
  • Atelier 10
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Thomson Bethune
  • Enabling Works Contractor
  • Sir Robert McAlpine
  • Main Contractor
  • Balfour Beatty