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Leith Renewable Energy Plant

Leith Renewable Energy Plant

gordon murray architects
Leith, United Kingdom
Power Plants

Renewable Energy Plant

gordon murray architects as Architects

The Leith Renewable Energy Plant has an opportunity to make the most of its unique setting at the waterfront of Scotland’s capital city by drawing inspiration from the surroundings, reflecting their maritime industrial character and history. The design works at a variety of scales. At long range, recognising the importance of established view corridors from a range of key viewpoints. At the medium range, careful manipulation of the contrast between solid, void and transparency can help define massing, articulating the scale of the main elements. At closer range, surface texture should be considered to create a response which is robust and appropriate for the setting. Elements of the proposed Renewable Energy Plant which will have a presence on the wider Edinburgh skyline, namely the stack and boiler house are identified and separated from parts which will be subsumed by the scale of the existing port operations. These high level elements are treated in an architecturally expressive manner suggesting connections with a range of maritime forms, from the sails of tall ships to the cliff like faceted forms of icebergs. By manipulating the profile of the high level structures to remove absolute vertical planes, the impact of the overall mass on adjacent areas can be softened, with any sense of overshadowing diminished. Subdividing the overall mass vertically also gives the appearance of a group of elements rather than one large volume. The stack itself is treated as highly sculptural vertical markers, recalling the influence of Antonio Sant’Elia in its massing. There are unique opportunities to be explored due to the ever changing qualities of light which occur on this part of the east coast. The way sunlight falls on the Renewable Energy Plant under a range of different conditions will dramatically alter how it is perceived – as an intangible form in the mist of a haar, a bright reflective object in the morning sun, or a dark monolith at dusk. The skin should allow for these variations to be enhanced through reflection and highlight, rather than remaining constant, monochrome and static.

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