What were your overall design goals?
Our goal at the Wireworks was all about creating a sustainable community. I think we’ve achieved this in that the tenure of the development’s residential mix means that it can cater to the needs of a wide variety of people, delivering a truly mixed community within the centre of Musselburgh.
In terms of the overall design, it was important that the building has a relevance to the site and that it fits into Musselburgh in terms of its character – that it isn’t like some sort of alien space craft that’s just landed.
What type of lifestyle will The Wireworks offer?
It will offer quite a mixed kind of lifestyle and will appeal to all sorts of people. From our side, we’ve created a development that will appeal to the first-time buyer, the young family, professionals and retirees as well. I think that it is really important to have such an holistic approach to lifestyle and living – it creates more sustainable communities and means you’re not creating ghettos.
Placemaking is at the centre of what we do as architects. This makes the central communal courtyard of the development really, really important. Residential design is often just stamped out like a ‘cookie cutter’. At The Wireworks we’ve created something unique, with a strong design ethos. We are sure that the development will be a great place to live and a valuable addition to Musselburgh.
How will the development benefit Musselburgh?
It will benefit Musselburgh on numerous levels. On one hand it provides much needed residential accommodation to cater for a wide range of people, so that’s got to be good for social inclusion and for the creation of sustainable communities.
Another huge benefit will be the fact that residents will use the local facilities, which is important to the survival of town centres like Musselburgh’s. By having more people living close to the town centre you’re also cutting down on carbon emissions due to transport and not using up a greenfield site out in the countryside.
What does good design mean to you?
Good design covers quite a wide spectrum – it’s got to have a relevance, cater to the needs of people, be sustainable, have a place-making agenda, and have longevity as well. It isn’t the same as fashionable design.
At The Wireworks you can see this in the fact that the form of the buildings, the pitch of the roofs, and even the choice of bricks we’ve used has a relevance to the site and its history. You can also see it in the relationship between all the communal areas - this actually structures how everything relates to the adjacent Mall avenue and the nearby river Esk.
How does the design of The Wireworks reflect its location?
The area around The Wireworks was industrial for much of the last two centuries. We’ve reflected that strong heritage in the forms we’ve chosen, which reflect the design of the Victorian brick buildings that used to predominate. Today, the River Esk is the main local feature. We’ve reflected this in the Wirework’s central courtyard, a wonderful green oasis that, as I’ve said, relates to the tree-lined Mall Avenue by the river.
What makes the project special?
We’ve come though Covid and various other problems, so it will be exciting to get the project completed. What is always very gratifying for us is to go back to a design two or three years later and to see and hear people enjoying living there – for example, the laugh of a child playing outside. For me, the design of The Wireworks has real life and vitality about it – and I think it will be a really great place to live.
You can find out more about The Wireworks, our development of 1, 2 & 3 bed apartments in Musselburgh, here.