Edinburgh Futures Institute: First look at Quartermile building following multi-million-pound restoration

The extensive seven-year project has revitalised the former Royal Infirmary building

The Edinburgh Futures Institute on Lauriston Place opened its doors to the public on Monday - with the 145-year-old building showcasing incredible modern design with restored historic architecture.

Located at the Quartermile, the A-listed building was home to the Royal Infirmary between 1879 to 2003 and was once described as ‘the best planned hospital’ in Britain. After relocating to Little France the old site has since been divided up and redeveloped into a variety of housing and retail units - with the main building reopening to the public on June 3.

Purchased by the University of Edinburgh in 2016, the impressive building will provide ‘a space for multidisciplinary collaboration, data-led innovation, education and research’ to find ‘innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.’

The 20,000 sqm redevelopment is now one of the largest institutes for interdisciplinary learning, research and innovation in Europe, and was made possible after the Institute received £56 million in capital funding from the UK Government and more than £2 million from the Scottish Government.

The much-loved city landmark will also host events for members of the public and the university’s community and a new public square has been created along with a café and exhibition and performance spaces. Collaborative spaces are available for external organisations, partners, and start-up businesses and the building will also be a permanent home for the Edinburgh International Book Festival each August.

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Edinburgh, said: “So many people in Edinburgh have a connection to this historic building and we want to ensure that it fulfils the pledge set in stone above the main entrance, ‘patet omnibus’ – open to all. Edinburgh Futures Institute’s new home will allow us to connect the University community with local and global groups, organisations and industries in new and meaningful ways.

“This was a complex project, sensitively restoring a 150-year-old city landmark into the University of Edinburgh’s new Edinburgh Futures Institute, an innovative forum for learning, research, and collaboration. We adopted a visionary approach to blend functionalism with the romantic Scottish baronial style, seamlessly integrating modern functionality with the building’s historic charm.”

Sir Mathieson added: “By carving out a new identity for the building and significantly enhancing the public realm, we have re-established its presence. We’re very proud of what has been achieved, merging the past with the future to create a new landmark for Edinburgh.”

Here are 30 pictures of the newly opened Edinburgh Futures Institute building.

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