Buccleuch Place Meadow Lane, Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh have long provided a wide range of student accommodation types and price points and are currently catering for 9200 students from 110 countries.

The University understands that students have varying accommodation requirements and budgets and is continually reshaping their accommodation portfolio to reflect this.

jmarchitects have been working with colleges and universities across the UK for many years and we know that accommodation plays a key role in student development both academically and socially, and that variety, identity and affordability is very important.




University of Edinburgh



The project provides post-graduate student accommodation across thirteen refurbished Grade ‘B’ listed Georgian townhouses. The two blocks fronting Buccleuch Place were originally built in the 1780’s as housing but had been in use as University office space prior to the development. Brownfield land behind the townhouses has been developed to provide purpose-built student accommodation, forming a new built edge to Meadow Lane. The arrangement allowed us to create a series of tranquil courtyard gardens in the heart of the site for students from the surrounding buildings to use and enjoy. Hidden within this space is an energy centre connected to the University CHP plant.

The vision of the project was to provide a variety of accommodation types, flexible to the needs of modern students and sensitive to the historic context of the area. The high-quality refurbishment of the Grade ‘B’ listed buildings, returning them to residential use, together with the provision of new publicly accessible spaces has enhanced the area for students and residents alike. Low-carbon heating and power systems have integrated principles of sustainability into the scheme and all new build elements have been designed to BREEAM Excellent standards.

Sustainability features include the retention and re-use of many of the existing traditional materials such as sandstone walls and slate roofing. Wild-planted beds and biodiverse green roofs will improve the ecological balance of the area, aid acoustic insulation and privacy and improve water management through integration with a SUDS system of permeable paving and landscaping features.

The refurbished townhouses at Buccleuch Place make up 45-shared flats housing 263 residents.  Each flat has a mixture or double, single or twin rooms, with twin rooms; a popular price point option for many postgraduate students, accounting for approximately 10% of the bed spaces.  Each flat has a shared kitchen /dining, lounge space, and shared bathroom facilities.

In addition to the new build on Meadow Lane, there was a gap in the larger scale frontage to Buccleuch Street. Here we extend the tenemental nature of Buccleuch Street, stepping the height of the development down along Meadow Lane to echo the height of the existing context.

Project gallery

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The Challenge

The University of Edinburgh has a strategic aim of increasing the provision of student accommodation within their portfolio. This will allow them to meet their current guarantee in support of an increasing student population and be able in due course to extend that guarantee further.

The Solution

We provided a sensitive approach to this historic environment which has resulted in a design that is sympathetic to the Southside area. The high quality finishes and approach to landscaping will create a fit for purpose student residence that will enhance the area.

The Outcome

The design of both the refurbishment and new build elements demonstrates a sensitive approach to student living, directly adjacent to the University Campus.

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