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Contents Assignment 1 | Surveying the Line Graphing the Street Casting the City Sectioning Cowgate

Assignment 2 | Uncovering the Hidden City Watching The Lexicon of the Line Developing an Architectural Language

Assignment 3 | Designing a Neighbourhood Platform Development Proposal Post-Review

Assignment 1 Surveying the Line

We chose to survey a quiet close nestled between Cowgate and the Royal Mile. In addition we also experimented with casting textures from the street and, in contrast, to take the form of the street in plan and reduce it to its most basic recognisable form. This literalism of the physical casting was not something I wished to pursue, however the act of creating a symbolic language through simplifying the character of the street was.





Graphing the Street We ordered the line in to four distinct areas based on their character. These were given labels; New, Transition, Tradition and Old. I graphed small chunks of this area, reducing their rich characters to the most simple form; a series of lines.

Royal Mile


New Town


Casting the City We took a series of four moulds, one for each area we had identified. Each of a different object expressing a different attribute of the area.

In addition to the casted textures, we sketched key scenes in the different areas we had identified to capture their character. Credit: (Left) Catherine Boag

Credit: Siddhartha Thomas

Sectioning Cowgate Surveying the Line

We sectioned Coinye House Close in four different areas to show how it reveals its self to someone on their journey through the city. The close can be accessed through a small opening on Cowgate, after which the space reveals its self as a grand, open paved area with trees and spaces to sit. After this it is restricted again as it approaches the Royal Mile.

Site Plan, Scale 1:500 Credit: Catherine Boag

Section A-A, 1:200 Credit: Siddhartha Thomas

Section B-B, 1:200 Credit: Siddhartha Thomas

Section C-C, 1:200

Section D-D 1:200

Assignment 2 Uncovering the Hidden City

As a personal response to the line, we chose to model different architectural elements of the city, based on those on the line which we had experienced in the previous week, but also exploratory, utilising the act of crafting an object to decide its form. I chose to look into the concept of ‘watching’ and the mechanism of the window.

‘Watching’ The concept of watching was something I found interesting after I had thought of photographing the line internally, that is from inside the buildings along it. The study offered an insight into both the boundary between public and private, but also what could be seen and what you were allowed to see from certain buildings.

Internally Photographed looking onto the line from within

The Lexicon of the Line Uncovering the Hidden City

Following on from the study into watching, I decided to make a series of maquettes which explored the different characteristics of windows as an architectural element. No maquette was premediated. Their forms were not sketched out but rather decided from the act of craft. After I made 20 I sorted them into categories and gave them labels based on their attributes. My team-mates concentrated on elements of their own interest, namely the close and door.

study 1 ledge

study 2 sill

Bar Passing Open Public Cell Threshold

Bar Private Vertical Cross Split Planes

study 3 incline

study 4 reach

Shutter Private Steep Shade Split Cell

Bar Private Restrictive Cell Sill Height

study 5 denial

study 6 grill

Planes Private Slit Tight Block Shaded

Open Public Barrier Bar Block View

study 7 cross

study 8 shutter

Public Planes Block Pass Open Vertical

Shaded Tilt Passage Barrier Closed Private

study 9 fan

study 10 reward

Shaded Block Barrier View Staggered Spectrum

Denial Private Slit Tight Block Shaded

study 11 fin

study 12 apex

Shaded Private Constant Spaced Moments Block

Incline Sill Open Passage Cell View

study 13 focus

study 14 fragment

Fins Barrier Concentrate View Directed Shaded

Moments Spectacle Open Heart View Port

study 15 viewport

study 16 spectacle

Ports Levels Skin Block Open Private

Object Levels Height Open Views Sight

study 17 oculus

study 18 body

Fin Block Above Arc Open Cell

Oculus Directed Lens Shutter Above Concentrated

study 5 alley

study 5 spectra

Height Denied Proportion Sill Ledge Battlement

Shutter Aperture Block Flakes Interact Sills

Developing an Architectural Language Uncovering the Hidden City

After I had collated and defined my lexicon, the next task was to apply the forms I had undovered appropriately and translate my raw lexicon into a coherent architectural language. However to do this I needed a site and a program. Keeping my new lexicon in mind, I returned to the line and looked for a site I could utilize. As such, I had the words but not the paper to write on.

Jeffrey Street / Market Street The site I eventually chose was an empty plot near Waverley Station, just off the Royal Mile. The change in level and views of Calton Hill were what attracted me to the site. The possibility of linking the two levels, Jeffrey Street (above) and Market Street (below), as well as using Calton hill as a spectacle to look onto. I had initially thought to make a public square, extending out towards Calton hill with a building beneath it.

Site Photographs

Assignment 3 Designing a Neighbourhood Platform

After I had chosen my site, I had a number of options for a program. The site I had chosen was in the centre of the Edinburgh literature quarter, therefore I wanted to create a space for creatives (writers, artists and so on) to come together. With this in mind I began sketching out ideas for a building. The early concept was to create a simple cellular building in which each cell would have a different window condition relating to each ‘word’ from my lexicon.

Sketchbook Extracts Earliest schemes exploit the pre-existing tunnels in the wall of the road as workshop spaces, with a central linking volume. On Jeffrey Street level there would be a public square with stairs down to the street below. Early sketches of how the windows would be implemented also present.

Later schemes see the solidification of a ‘bar’ element, a string of workshops connected by a corridor to the rear. For a long time there was an element pushing through the middle. This would have been the public part of the building.

Experimenting with more intrusive public elements

I had then thought to unify the building; not as an intersection and a resulting negitive shape, but as a grid, broken in parts, but part of the same whole.

Creating a simpler form. Diagram with numbers showing the corresponding item in the lexicon.

Workshop windows subtracting the public space showing the fractured nature of the workshops.

Proposal Designing a Neighbourhood Platform

This section includes the final drawings for my proposal, as well as illustrating the new ‘words’ added to the lexicon as a result of the buildings design.

Roof Plan on Site 1:100


Floor 5 1:100


Floor 4 1:100


Floor 3 1:100


Floor 2 1:100







Ground Floor 1:100



Main Elevation (Looking South) 1:100

Section A-A 1:100

Section B-B 1:100

Section C-C 1:100

Extended Lexicon Each workshop space and public space became its own ‘word’ in the lexicon rather than an arbitrary space with an interesting facade. Some have been illustrated and labeled.


Designing a Neighbourhood Platform

After the review it became apparent that the project had lost its link with the street it had earlier. This section covers what I would have done if there was more time to develop the project.

Watching the view in context, 1:2000

Post-review sketches Post-review sketches

Post-review Post-reviewsketches sketches

Speculative Centre for Writing, Edinburgh. Year 2, Semester 1  

Adam McFall // Academic Portfolio

Speculative Centre for Writing, Edinburgh. Year 2, Semester 1  

Adam McFall // Academic Portfolio