Mansfield Traquair Centre
by Simpson & Brown Architects
for Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
The restoration and conversion of Rowand Anderson's magnificent Catholic Apostolic Church at Mansfield Place in Edinburgh to create new headquarters for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations was completed in 2003. The project involved comprehensive repair of the building fabric and extensive remodelling of the interior to provide office space.
Two floors of offices have been created below the Nave by demolishing dividing walls and lowering the original floor level. An elegant steel structure now supports the Nave floor. The two floors of open-plan offices beneath are ranged around a central void, connected to each other by light-weight steel stairs. They are reached from Nave level by a steel and oak spiral stair inserted into a newly excavated space beneath the massive stone drum of the Baptistry. Contemporary materials and forms were chosen for the new interventions to distinguish them from the historic fabric. Elsewhere, salvaged materials and elements were re-used whenever possible.
New lighting illuminates Phoebe Traquair's murals for the first time since the building ceased to be a church fifty years ago, but also reveals the damage and decay caused to them by prolonged water ingress in the past. The next phase of work, commencing in 2004, aims to conserve these celebrated murals.