Teviot Row House revamp

May 3 2023 | By More

Iconic Fringe venue to go dark for 18 months

Teviot Row House, the Edinburgh University student union on Bristo square which is run by Gilded Balloon during the Fringe, is planned to go dark for 18 months from late October 23 until Spring 2025.

The planned closure is for a major internal upgrade to its facilities which will make much of the 1889, Category B listed building compliant with modern accessibility standards. If the refurbishment goes ahead, Teviot will be closed throughout, including during the 2024 Edinburgh Fringe.

Bristo Square level entrance. Visualisation Page\Park

The refurbishment is still subject to approval of a planning application lodged with the Edinburgh City Council in February this year and the appointment of contractors.

The plans are considerably different to those put forward for consultation in 2017 – and subsequently rejected – which would have seen Teviot become part of a new centralised student centre.

The current proposals have been presented jointly by the University and Student Association, who say they are “working together to deliver a significant upgrade to Teviot Row House.” The EUSA has a statement on its website (here) and the University emailed all students this week, a copy of which is here.

The architectural interest of Teviot Row House, the oldest purpose-built Student Union building in the world, means that the proposals will not be allowed to significantly alter its overall nature.

The original 1889 building and its 1902 wing were designed by Sydney Mitchell in a 16th century Scots Palace style. The “uncompromisingly modernist” concrete extension, added in the 1960s by architect William Kininmonth, is also of interest.

Entrance Hall. Visualisation: Page\Park

The most obvious changes as part of the refurbishment are to the main entrance on Bristo Square, where the steps are to be brought forward, to allow for a level access to be created from Bristo Square, in the right hand side, in front of what is the Library.

The existing Sports Bar and Nightclub on the lower-ground floor will be turned into one space, to form a new Lane Bar, with a new entrance created to this bar at the rear of the building, allowing access from Charles Street Lane.

The reception area on the ground floor, opposite the main entrance, will also be opened up, to provide a way through to the new Lane Bar.

As well as new lifts, toilet upgrades and access features, other major work includes changing the configuration of the Loft Bar to move it next to the Debating Hall, and rather more substantial refurbished of the Kininmonth extension, upgrading the building fabric.

Lane Bar. Visualisation: Page\Park

In terms of Teviot Row as a Fringe venue, it appears that the only loss of amenity will be to the Nightclub, although other rooms may no longer be useful as performance spaces.

The Gilded Ballon told Æ: “The Gilded Balloon will continue operating in 2024 and will not be closing for the Fringe. We are in discussion with EUSA about the potential closure of Teviot and together with EUSA and the University are looking to find the Gilded Balloon an alternative venue for the duration of the festival, should any closure take place.

“We will also continue operating at our other venue hubs during the Fringe including Patter Hoose on Chambers Street and the Auditorium at the National Museum of Scotland. We optimistically look forward to presenting another programme of world-class entertainment at Fringe 2024.”

Charles Street Lane Entrance. Visualisation: Page\Park

Charles Street Lane current entrance. Pic: Thom Dibdin


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