Scottish Storytelling Centre

Malcolm Fraser Architects, Edinburgh, 2006


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The rendered elevation is all that remains of the original Netherbow Arts Centre 

Anthony Coleman (website)     Download Original

  • The rendered elevation is all that remains  of the original Netherbow Arts Centre    
  • The stainless-steel horizontal entrance canopy and wall cladding complement the verticality of the stone bell tower    
  • The Royal Mile; an architectural story of half-truths and lies    
  • A folding wall reconciles the generosity  and ambition of the story court with the need for  more intimate space    
  • Folding wall     
  • Folding wall     
  • From behind the folding wall    
  • The original theatre has been reconfigured to create  an intimate venue, suited to the unamplified spoken word    
  • The new bell tower houses the Edinburgh city bell of 1621     
  • A ‘delicious’ urban garden    
  • Lower ground floor plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Elevation    

Historic John Knox house and existing Netherbow Arts Centre combined to form a home for the Scottish Storytelling Forum and its networks

The Scottish Storytelling Centre is situated on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town, in the conservation heartland of the World Heritage Site.

The Royal Mile facade is composed of three distinct elements. The rendered, regularly punctured elevation is all that remains of the original Netherbow Arts Centre. The existing pitched roof has been masked by extending up the parapet wall.

The foyer opens to the High Street and a further stepped entrance to one side; on the other, it connects with an enclosed court via a café. The court is a double-height space that is top-lit. The original theatre has been reconfigured and redesigned to create an intimate venue; the spoken word, unamplified, was a primary aim of the brief.

Douglas fir is used throughout the interiors either as veneered panels or solid strips. These mellow surfaces are complemented by simple white painted planes.


  • Begun: Oct 2003
  • Completed: May 2006
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £2.6M
  • Tender date: Apr 2003
  • Procurement: Scottish Building Contract with Contractor Designed Portion Sectional Completion Edition with Quantities May 1999 Edition with amendment TC/94 and as amended by Section A20 of the Preliminaries Bill
  • Address: 43-45 High Street, Midlothian, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR, United Kingdom

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