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Liberton Barns

This innovative 4-bedroom, two storey townhouse development is located on a site that used to be comprised of a derelict open agricultural shed sat within a collection of previously converted steadings. The site has a rural feel with Western views over open agricultural fields towards the Royal Observatory and Liberton Tower.

The design approach was to mimic the existing agricultural shed in terms of massing, form, and materials to provide open-plan, high quality, contemporary 4-bedroom homes that connect with the semi-rural surroundings. The development was constructed using a Kingspan TEK building structure. This was used to both achieve superior air tightness and insulation and also to allow the architect’s design for a seamless vaulted ceiling in the upstairs living area. Timber was also innovatively utilised to achieve a high level of privacy for the properties by wrapping the buildings agricultural form in slatted timber cladding. The cladding allows glimpses of the solids and voids/glazing behind the cladding revealing subtle glimpses of what is concealed within.

The existing rubble stone wall which wrapped two sides of the original shed was key in defining the building floor plate and site edge and combined with the timber cladding it aided in creating the natural aesthetic connecting the development to the setting. As the development ages, the timber will ‘silver’ and further marry the colours of the stonework.

In contrast to the setting and the agricultural form of the design, the internal design of the townhouses is highly contemporary. All three town houses are innovatively focused around a central fully glazed external void courtyard. A cut out in the roof allows natural light and ventilation to permeate the core of the building.

On entering the properties at the ground floor level, you are presented with the courtyard on the left and connecting with the timber exterior, a contemporary wooden staircase leading to the first floor living area. On the ground floor two double bedrooms open onto the internal courtyard and two further bedrooms are located to the rear of the property. Both these bedrooms open onto their own small courtyard with views through a cut-out in the stone wall across the field to the west.

The first floor showcases the living and dining area’s expansive open views. The impressive vaulted ceiling and floor to ceiling glazing leads to a large external partially covered terrace with frameless glass balustrade and timber features. The terrace captures the sun during the day and allows for a sheltered area to dine in the evening.

The development comes alive in the early evening, with the glow of light from the various spaces, glimpses of activity from behind the slatted timber screens over the glazing and the backdrop of the observatory and Liberton Tower in the low-level evening sun.

what the client has to say

“The LBA team has clearly defined our vision. The town houses offer the highest quality contemporary design-led build and layout that’s innovative yet sympathetic to the surrounding architecture and environment.”


Contractor: Glencairn Properties

Structural Engineer: David Narro Associates

Interior Designer:  Catalog Interiors

Photography:  Vanessa Rankin

PROJECT details

Client: Glencairn Properties

Location: Edinburgh

Status: Complete

Sector: Residential


2018 Scottish Design Awards, Future Building Finalist

2019: EAA Awards, Wood Awards: WINNER

2019: Scottish Design Awards, Residential Finalist

2019: The Sunday Times British Homes Awards: Small Development of the Year: Finalist

2019: Scottish Home Awards: Small Housing Development of the Year: Finalist

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