Controversial plans to modernise the world’s oldest purpose-built student union building in Edinburgh have been dramatically scaled back following an outcry – just months after they were revealed.
A modern extension proposed for Edinburgh University’s Teviot Row House has been dropped from a £75 million development after its designs came under fire from students.
A garden beside the gothic-style landmark, which has been catering for students for 125 years, has been saved for future generations after architects were sent back to the drawing board to produce a more acceptable vision for the project.
Instead, a significant extension is to be built on to the rear of the existing 19th century building, which is home to one of the most popular venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Gilded Balloon.
The new-look Teviot Row House, which will be built on to part of Charles Street Lane, will boast a brand new large-scale venue in the new building, while its existing debating hall will be restored and modernised.
The new Student Centre complex, which will also include a modern building on the corner of George Square and Charles Street, is being jointly pursued by the university and its students’ association to bring all their services together for the first time.
It is hoped the first phase of work will get under way next year, with the new Teviot Row House due to open in 2023.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “Significant changes have been made to the original proposals, with Teviot Row House garden being preserved and additional facilities being created along Charles Street Lane. Teviot Row House will be completely refurbished and made fully accessible, keeping its unique character, but improving and expanding the range of services offered.
“Connections will also be formed with a brand new student services building on George Square.”
Gavin Douglas, the deputy secretary of the university, added: “These new proposals enhance the much-loved Teviot while creating vibrant new spaces for all students to access.”
Patrick Kilduff, president of the students’ association, said: “Teviot is in the heart of every student that has been through the university over the last 125 years.
“This investment will bring key services of the university and students’ association together to increase accessibility and support for students. This Student Centre is forging a path to ensure we can keep Teviot as our home from home for generations to come and make sure we always have a place on campus we can be proud to call our own.
“The new designs endeavour to keep Teviot as a place students can be proud to call their own for generations to come.
“We worked closely with the university and the architects to lobby for the changes students wanted to see from the first consultation.”