Families' Reception Centre, HM Prison Saughton

Gareth Hoskins Architects, Edinburgh, 2000


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  • The entrance issignalled by a white-rendered, curved form with a horizontal slit window    
  • The reception area    
  • The roof to the café/waiting area opens up to the south,  allowing light to penetrate deep into the interior    
  • From the north the building is long, low and elegant.  The entrance is signalled by a white-rendered,  curved form with a horizontal slit window.  A patinated copper roof hoods the undulating timber-glazed screen     
  • Timber louvres are used to shade the glazing on the south-facing facade, although in a land with low sun angles it could be that their real value is in the texture they add to the elevation    
  • The children’s playroom is saturated in colour and imaginatively detailed    
  • Site plan    
  • Floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Section    
  • Window sill detail    
  • Window detail    

Purpose-built reception building for prison visitors featuring cafe and children's playroom

The reception at HM Prison Saugton allows the structural grid to provide more private waiting areas against a deeply modelled, timber-glazed wall. As well as flaring in plan, the café and waiting area’s roof opens up in a lazy yawn to the south, allowing light to penetrate deep into the interior.

The plan ultimately focuses on a children’s playroom, saturated in colour, and imaginatively detailed with lively fenestration and recessed soft play pit.

The served and the servant spaces also call out the inherent constructional strategy, with glulam roof members/steel composite columns to the former and load-bearing block domestic construction to the latter.

The first purpose-built reception building for prison visitors in Scotland was not a new concept for Gareth Hoskins Architects, which was already project architect for the Penoyre & Prasad’s Belmarsh Visitors’ Centre completed in 1996 at Belmarsh Prison, England.


  • Begun: Mar 1999
  • Completed: Mar 2000
  • Floor area: 468m2
  • Sector: Civic
  • Total cost: £800,872
  • Tender date: Feb 1999
  • Address: Stenhouse Road, Stenhouse, Edinburgh, EH11 3LN, United Kingdom

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