Cowgate Under 5's Nursery, Edinburgh
- BCI Award Winner 2003 Small Projects Category
- Shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Better Public Buildings Award 2003
- EAA Silver Medal 2002.
- Best Nursery in the UK at the 2008 NurseryAwards
This important regeneration project is situated directly off Old Assembly Close within the heart of the historic core of Edinburgh's Old Town. The £625,000 new build project provides the Edinburgh City Council Education Department with a flagship nursery facility for around 60 children (aged up to 5 years) and replace the existing nursery building which was adjacent to the busy Cowgate road.
The square is bounded to the north by the towering rear elevations of the Royal Mile tenements, and the site drops steeply towards the Cowgate to the south. The Nursery reinforces the historic grain of the Old Town closes and repairs the schism in the urban grain left by the Tron Square housing to the south. The building comprises four classrooms, administrative facilities and meeting rooms; all linked to the outdoor play courtyard. The design seeks to provide a spatially exciting environment for the teaching and development of young children, and exploits existing level changes across the site to provide creative play features. The external expression of the nursery reinforces its contemporary nature through a composition of pre-patinated zinc, glass and smooth render. Large-scale angular roof lights to bring natural light deep into the plan.
Work started on site in October 2001 and was completed July 2002. The New Cowgate Nursery represents the first bespoke nursery to be built in the city centre for some decades. This bold insertion demonstrates a commitment by the City to promote exciting, contemporary educational buildings appropriate to the needs of young children.
The nursery has now an international reputation for excellence, and under the leadership of Lynn McNair (www.cowgateunder5s.co.uk) it was the overall winner of the 2008 Nursery Awards. The building is now recognised as a textbook model by the OECD, and is included in the current edition of their Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities.
Photographs by Keith Hunter.
Client - Buredi and Castle Rock Housing Association.
Contractor - Mowlem