Holyrood North

This award-winning project is located in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town and has created over 1,100 new student rooms, a retail unit, a self-catered residence hall for 480 students and outreach centre which is home to the Institute for Academic Development and the Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies.

Location: Edinburgh
Client: Balfour Beatty
Cost: £110m
Completion: 2015

Holyrood North is a postgraduate village at the University of Edinburgh. It comprises of eight individually designed buildings inspired by the historic Old Town.

At the heart of the development is a unique self-catered residence hall with 450 bedrooms and expansive communal kitchen and social space. Office facilities, a public café, a lecture theatre and an outreach centre occupy the front of the development onto Holyrood Road.

A large communal garden located on the podium deck over the kitchen connects several access points which are open to the public during daylight hours.

Blyth & Blyth were appointed to provide Civil and Structural engineering services for the project including structural engineering design certification (SER).

it was officially opened in 2015 by HRH The Princess Royal.

Key challenges

Extremely challenging city centre site.

Complex substructure arrangement with varied floor heights for each building.

Design of two-level basement structure with retaining walls adjacent to Holyrood Road.

Archaeological remains discovered during excavation.

Implementing BIM throughout the project.

Interface between steel top storey on a concrete framed building.

Work to a fast-paced design and construction programme.


The development has provided accommodation to 1,200 students since its opening and attracts international postgraduate and mature undergraduates from around the world. The site is in keeping with its local surroundings and retains the historic features of Edinburgh’s Old Town. It provides an array of onsite-student resource, amenity and social spaces. The accommodation is affordable and caters to the needs of the modern-day student.

“Edrington have worked with Blyth and Blyth for the past 15 years on various projects throughout the group and during this time we have developed a close and trusting partnership. B&B offer the full range of engineering services, allowing us to have a one stop shop on engineering consultancy requirements, with the obvious benefits this brings. B&B experience in the whisky industry is second to none which has the double benefit of not wasting time and money having to explain the process each time. As said previously, Edrington have been working with B&B for more than15 years and with a fair wind this relationship will continue for a further 15 years and beyond.”

George McKenzie Engineering Director, The Edrington Group