Greyfriars Charteris Centre

"As well as practical solutions to the design, the interior detailing has been handled exquisitely by Konishi Gaffney"

Konishi Gaffney completed the overhaul of Greyfriars Charteris Centre in Edinburgh’s city centre following an invited competition in 2017. The £1.7m refurbishment, improvement and extension of the former church provides flexible workspace, a community hub, events spaces, and a non-denominational sanctuary.

The key to this project was to improve the Charteris Centre’s visibility and accessibility. The existing building was split across multiple small level changes on the ground floor with no clear point of entry and confusing circulation. Our focus was to rationalise and simplify the entrance by consolidating the reception and lobby area into a single level with lift access to the other areas of the building. A ‘link’ building was slotted between the church and the adjacent office building which doubled as a new, clear and distinctive entrance to the building complex.

A wide stair and seating area was formed that serves both to create views through the building from the street and down to the level below and to connect the co-working hub with the community functions above. We worked closely with local specialists Old School Fabrications from an early stage to develop simple but effective details for the staircase and a material palette of maple, walnut nosings and birch faced plywood. This was used throughout the building for all new elements such that they are visually distinct, yet compliment the fabric of the existing church buildings.

  • Photography: © Nanne Springer