Waverley Mall is in a key site in the city of Edinburgh, a linchpin node connecting the main transport hub of Waverley Station, the main commercial district of Princes Street and the cultural hub of the National Gallery. It is the gateway to the city and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the New Town and Old Town which are renowned around the world.
The New Town on the North side of Princes Street Gardens clearly establishes, as a counterpoint to the Medieval Old Town, a new context of classical order and restraint, with solitary institutional buildings and monuments celebrating their importance as classical temples - establishing the moniker ‘The Athens of the North’.
Regardless of this being a commercial proposition the significance and importance of this context demands that there should be some recognition and response to this idea.
Three of the main principles of the classic temple order have influenced the expression of the proposal:
1. Temple on a plinth - The existing shopping mall accommodation is largely hermetic and is expressed as a solid grey granite box.
2. Discrete rectilinear form - The new rooftop extension is expressed as a separately articulated form sitting on the stone base.
3. Rhythm and order - The rhythm of solid and void expressed through the use of a massive columnar structure is used to give order and expression to the elevations on all of its four sides.
The proposal establishes within the site a new and clearly defined urban space which is contained on the South, West and Eastern edges whilst opening up to a new broader and more gracious Princes Street pavement promenade. This simple U form plan establishes a well-defined and coherent public place sheltered from the prevailing wind whilst still allowing uninterrupted views from Princes Street across to the Old Town, the Castle and South Bridge.