Stirling Tollbooth

Richard Murphy Architects, Stirling, 2000


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A blend of traditional restoration and conservation work with highly modern and dramatic structural interventions 

Allan Forbes (website)     Download Original

  • A blend of traditional restoration and conservation work with highly modern and dramatic structural interventions    
  • The lift shaft is designed in steel with a glass and wire mesh infill    
  • The new floor is designed in steel, supporting a composite concrete and steel slab    
  • Steel walkways and stairs around the main auditorium provide access to the various levels of the three original buildings    
  • The structure reflects the fact that this is a complex, inherited situation put in the hands of an architect who relishes complexity     
  • The roof hints at the vibrant interventions inside    
  • The dance theatre occupies the attic of the jail    
  • The glazed east wall of the foyer forms a dramatic elevation which, sadly, few see    
  • The courtroom has been given a ‘back-pack’ of stepped seating, which can be concealed by full height screens to reinstate the form of the original room    
  • Simpson & Brown’s role was to protect and repair the ancient buildings which make up the Tolbooth complex    
  • The Tolbooth Arts Centre in Stirling successfully fuses Simpson & Brown’s conservation work with Richard Murphy Architects’ flamboyant intervention    
  • The staircase which carries on up to the  roof-top dance studio has a contorted form which changes at  each level    
  • Murphy’s interventions slot into a complex pattern of three different buildings linked around a tiny backyard    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Third floor plan    
  • Forth floor plan    
  • Art centre rendered perspective    
  • Entry is via a vaulted tunnel from Jail Wynd    
  • Walkway detail    
  • Walkway detail    

Renovation of a listed former town hall, courthouse and jail the into a music focused arts venue retaining the existing complex internal layout

The existing Stirling Tollbooth building forms a 'u' shape with the court house occupying the central section and vaults underneath. It sits between the two main streets on the approach to the castle. As part of the design, the connecting street of Jail Wynd has been closed and pedestrianised and it is here we have that made a new entrance utilising one of the vault spaces as a passageway.

The 'A' Listed existing building has been interfered with as little as possible, so that the elevations to the public streets, and the fine interiors retain their character and can be enjoyed as 'the old Tolbooth'. Special interiors have been reserved for special uses within the existing building, so that the old Courtroom is reused as the pre-eminent performance space, the robing room as a grand bar, and the old council chamber as a high quality restaurant.


  • Begun: Jul 2000
  • Completed: Oct 2000
  • Floor area: 1,690m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £3.9M
  • Tender date: Jul 1999
  • Procurement: JCT 98 LA edition with quantities
  • Address: Jail Wynd, Stirling, FK81DE, United Kingdom

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