Leith Fort is a new build residential development located in the heart of Leith, just north of Edinburgh city centre comprising a total of 94 new homes available in a mix of social (32) and mid-market rent (62) that were delivered for and are managed by City of Edinburgh Council and Port of Leith Housing Association respectively.
The development has been constructed on the site of the historic 18th Century Leith Fort. The 1.7 ha. site was formerly home to a seven-storey tower block located within the confines of the Grade B Listed stone military fort boundary wall.
The new housing masterplan is made up of seven, three-storey terraces. The housing typology reinterprets the form of traditional ‘colony’ housing, a traditional social housing typology found in many neighbourhoods across Edinburgh, with a ground floor single storey flat, and a 2-storey duplex apartment located directly above. This provides a strong mix of housing with each flat having its own front door and its own private south facing garden. The project also offers a mix of apartments, including 4 fully accessible ground level flats and 2 townhouses.
The materials palette consists of a buff coloured facing brick used to create the main massing of the terraced housing. This is complemented with a standing seam metal roofing system and a composite window system generously proportioned to maximise daylight into dwellings and views out. CCG was also able to recycle the stone that was removed from the fort wall. In opening up the site, elements of the wall were removed and then reconstituted for retaining walls and decorative wall features throughout the site.
Integration was a key part of this project. When previously occupying the site, Fort House was isolated from the surrounding communities so Leith Fort was designed to create a stronger community feeling and this is done by the height of the homes that have been constructed as well as the creation of cycle and pedestrian routes that feed into a community green at the heart of the site, encouraging active use and occupation of the community green and the wider neighbourhood. The ‘Living Street’ concept was used to create this masterplan which in turn lowers the impact and dominance of vehicular use.
Each block has been constructed using a mix of traditional block work (ground floor) and the CCG OSM iQ closed panel timber frame system. Reaching 3 stories, the ground floor was traditionally built with 2 stories of the iQ timber frame system thereafter, complimented by the CCG off-site manufactured roof cassette. CCG’s timber frame erection programme was completed in just 133 days. Overall, including construction using traditional methods, the entire development was completed wind and watertight in 40 weeks. With a faster speed of delivery, the surrounding community benefited from a reduction in noise pollution and overall, a reduced time spent on site. CCG estimates that if this project was constructed using traditional methods, it would have added a further 60 weeks to the 72-week construction programme.
Working with our clients, CCG performed an extensive array of community benefit initiatives as part of the works at Leith Fort which included employment and training opportunities, work placements, educational tours as well as donating to local charities.
The job and training opportunities for the project included:
Other elements that CCG was able to contribute as part of the project included giving site tours of CCG OSM and Leith Fort to students of Edinburgh Napier University to provide curriculum support; donating to Edinburgh Sick Kids Christmas Appeal 2016, which included £50 worth of toys and donating toward Port of Leith HA’s Gala Days for 2016 and 2017.
City of Edinburgh Council and Port of Leith Housing Association