Albert Dock, Leith

EMAs Ocean Drive Development for Cala Homes has been received a Gold Award for the Best Brownfield Development at the What House? Awards 2014.

‘This Leith development near Edinburgh, on a previously derelict site on the edge of the still operational Albert Dock between the casino and the bustling Shore area, breaks new ground in that it is a low rise (three-storey) development in an area dominated by high-rise, high-density apartment blocks.

More of the same was initially proposed for this previously compromised location, but CALA, identifying a demographic demand for family homes in this area, tore up the previous planning consent for a much larger apartment scheme, and its architects, EMA, have risen to the challenge, designing two parallel three-storey terraces of great sophistication, referencing the industrial heritage of the docks while showcasing entirely contemporary design.

The simple elegance of the terraces containing 31 townhouses and 10 affordable apartments, owes much to the elevational treatment of the brickwork punctuated by large windows and Juliet balconies, but also to the relationship between the dockside terrace and the water. This terrace has excellent views across the working dock, but the planning masterstroke lies in the treatment of the “street” formed between the two parallel terraces where extensive balconies not only define and punctuate the streetscape and create useful carports, but provide piano nobile outdoor living space.

The individual houses are imaginatively planned and this is a fine response to what was a very difficult brownfield site.’