St Andrew Square

Edinburgh, UK



with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Gardiner & Theobald
and Dewhurst Macfarlane


Gillespies, in their design for St Andrew Square in Edinburgh, look to explore how exchange can reactivate history, culture and monument. Recognisng the importance of visual connection to the history of a city. Reflecting the past upon new design.

For the first time in its 200 year history, St Andrew Square in Edinburgh opened to the public following a new landscape design by Gillespies.

Situated in central Edinburgh in the heart of a UNESCO world heritage site, the design retains the integrity of the historic square but also balances this with new elements to accommodate contemporary usage patterns. The design provides a generous and elegant central open space with its focus being the Melville Monument. The layout recognises the importance of this column in reinstating the visual connection between some of Edinburgh’s main shopping streets. A reflective pool is framed by waterside planting which provides a changing display of colour and texture.

The project has successfully delivered a contemporary space into a historic context. A previously private and underused garden is now open to the public. The small Café Pavilion set in one corner of the garden reinforces the square’s status as a destination in its own right.

By working closely with clients including the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Enterprise, Gillespies has demonstrated that even in the most sensitive of environments – a conservation area and world heritage site – a modern and fresh design can be achieved.