The Water of Leith Walkway Visitor Centre, Edinburgh – Malcolm Fraser Architects
This clean and attractive walkway is the work of Malcolm Fraser Architects, and has been added to the river front in Edinburgh to improved the public accessibility of the water. The visitor centre has been located in a strategic central point along the waterway, making the most of the areas prominent location.
The structure is modern in appearance, yet very respectful of the surrounding land and older buildings. It blends pale coloured stone with light timber cladding to produce a space that feels like a clean compliment to the rushing, unpredictable water flowing past.
“The new visitor centre sites at the mid-point of The Water of Leith Walkway, which flows through Edinburgh and on to Leith Where the river meets the Firth of Forth. By happy coincidence, Edinburgh’s other principal waterway and walkway, the Union Canal, soars overhead on its magnificent aqueduct. The visitor centre occupies a small Victorian school, with an interactive exhibition space in the main classroom and a teaching resource for the river in the rear one. New accommodation is organised into linear timber-clad block that starts as stores and toilets, intersects the rear classroom as a wet teaching area (with administration offices above), and ends as the foyer.
The new addition extends the foyer’s welcome by vaulting over the walkway, forming a gateway to both the walkway and the new building, and encloses a small courtyard, which acts as an external teaching space for school children, and a starting point for a new section of walkway that engage with the stone piers of the aqueduct and railway bridge.
Mussing or damaged section of the 12 mile long walkway have been pieced-in with a simple kit of parts being deployed to suit different conditions. Cantilevered primary steel structures were added at the more tricky sections allowing access to sites off this green link, in turn serving as a catalyst for regeneration in former industrial areas” Malcolm Fraser Architects