A FORMER artist studios and workshop would be demolished to make way for flats on Gayfield Square under new plans which have been lodged.
The new five-level apartment block would replace the now vacant commercial site previously occupied by gallery Gayfield Creative Spaces, who left the premises in January.
Developer Stone Acre Gayfield Square Ltd is seeking council approval to replace the current single-storey building after re-working a previous design.
Designers Lynsay Bell Architects (LBA) described the existing buildings, located to the northwest corner of the square, as of “low quality construction” and plan to replace them with a “contemporary, quality build providing residential housing more in keeping with the neighbourhood”.
The site was originally used as a car and tyre workshop up until 2000 when it was converted into an art gallery and covered parking.
LBA said none of the existing structures was worthy of retention and plan to raze all the buildings on the site.
An LBA spokeswoman said: “As a progressive architectural practice LBA’s design approach has been to create a scheme that pays reference to the surrounding building characteristics and scale whilst providing a positive contemporary contrast in the creation of a building of its time.
“LBA is committed to producing high quality design-led developments and Gayfield is very much reflective of our design ethos.
“This is echoed in the superior materials specified, subtle detailing, apartment layouts encouraging contemporary living and aesthetic of the project which has been carefully considered.”
But the design for the residential flats, which will vary from studios to family homes, has split local opinion with some residents commenting on the contemporary plans jarring with the traditional tenements and townhouses in the area.
One local resident said the design was “disappointing for such a good location”.
He added: “There are some well designed flats in Edinburgh that are a modern twist on the tenement style. Unfortunately this isn’t one of them.”
Another added: “A very “cala-esque” modern tenement proposal.
“Quite dull and inoffensive but it’s Edinburgh and the planners dictate such mediocrity is the way forward in the ultra-conservative vision for our city.”
However, supporters of the design commended the architect’s use of materials including brick giving the development an “honest reference to the site’s garage and brownfield history”: “The scheme will active [sic] what is a dead brownfield site behind Gayfield Square and does appear to respond to the context in terms of scale and proportion.”