Fit-out specialists help transform poetry library

Photo credit Eddie Phillips Lighthouse Photography
Photograph by Eddie Phillips Lighthouse Photography

Morris & Spottiswood has completed a project to help transform the famous Scottish Poetry Library.

The fit-out contractor secured a one-off tender to build a single-storey extension to the front of the building – located just off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile – as well as an external terrace space to accommodate poetry readings.

The Creative Scotland and Edinburgh Council-backed facility, which holds the largest open-access collection of Scottish poetry in the world, has since re-opened following a £380,000 revamp.

Contracts manager Steven Welch said Morris & Spottiswood worked closely with Dundee-based architects Nicoll Russell Studios to adapt to the complexities of the project. “For a relatively small project it proved to be quite complicated,” he said. “We were tasked with constructing an extension to the front of the building including an external terrace area for poetry nights and other social gatherings, which substantially increased the footprint of the existing building.

“The design presented a number of unusual challenges on what was a very tight site. The existing external stair and garage had become redundant over the years and these have been replaced with a cleverly-designed extension that seamlessly unites the new building with the existing, re-using timber cladding panels, glazed screens and even the blue glazed brickwork.”

The three-storey Scottish Poetry Library holds more than 45,000 books.

Steven Welch said Morris & Spottiswood’s mechanical and electrical (M & E) team played an important role in the delivery of the project. “With the continued growth of Morris & Spottiswood’s M & E department we can deliver a one-stop solution from survey and inspection through to design and installation,” he added. “This gives clients like the Scottish Poetry Library the benefit of a one team delivery solution for the entire project, which spares them the management headache of dealing with numerous contractors and helps to save both time and overheads.

“Although this project was a one-off, there are a couple of people on the Scottish Poetry Library board who have expressed an interest in our services so there is a potential for further work on the back of this project too.”