The West Coach House (formerly the Chemistry Lab), underwent a major refurbishment from July 2021 – March 2022, as the second phase of the School’s long-term Growing Spaces Project.
The East and West Coach Houses were once separate buildings on different properties, one as part of the C-listed Edinholme villa (at the front school gates) and the other was once the outbuildings of Woodlands villa (situated in the centre of our campus). Only three original walls remained.
The building, which has a substantial volume of space (over 80m2), has been designed to be multipurpose, meaning that it could be subdivided to create several different classrooms or other facilities in future. For the meantime it is the home for Early Years. Phase Three, for which fundraising efforts are underway, will create Seedlings long-term space.
The 19th Century building is a candidate for the Architectural MasterPrize competition; striving to follow in the footsteps of adjoined C-listed building, East Coach House, winning an Honorable Mention in Architectural Design / Educational Building.
The project overcame many challenges that jeopardised the project.
Pedagogically, pupils are profoundly affected by their built environment; and it is appreciated excellence can be achieved by creating inspirational spaces to learn in; and so the design had to be child-friendly. With the needs of the School constantly evolving with the changing nature of the outside world, designing for flexibility of spaces allows the School to develop and change as well as allowing classrooms and other spaces to be used in different ways.
Architecturally, it adjoins a C-listed building; meets modern environmental standards; uses high-spec materials; and is in keeping with the aesthetics of the Steiner Waldorf campus.
Financially, the budget to conserve Edinburgh’s architectural heritage was restricted by the School’s reserves as a not-for-profit educational organisation; and inescapably affected by the hiking costs of materials in the pandemic, as well as the shortage of labour due to covid cases and self-isolation measures. Masked wear and tear of the fabric of the 150 year old building from the rafters to the drainage to the utility wires and pipes also meant costs considerably increased.
The project received a very generous gift of over £80,000 from the literary royalties of former Edinburgh Steiner teacher, Charles Kovacs.