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The £70 million contract to deliver the Edinburgh Futures Institute, a flagship refurbishment and extension project on behalf of the University of Edinburgh has been awarded to Balfour Beatty.

The contractor will be responsible for restoring and connecting six wards, unlocking the building’s wide corridors to create free-flowing areas in the University’s Grade- A listed Old Royal Infirmary hospital building, extending to over 21,000 square metres.

On completion, the development, part-funded by Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, will provide multiple teaching and learning facilities, function areas, and work spaces for staff, students and the general public. 

Edinburgh Futures Institute will include a subterranean auditorium and a new entranceway.

The company will utilise Building Information Modelling (BIM) and augmented and virtual reality technologies to enhance the restoration process of this iconic building.

Hector Macaulay, Balfour Beatty’s Managing Director of Scotland and Ireland, said: “We have a long history of restoring listed buildings, including the National Museum of Scotland and the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

“Combining the latest construction techniques and technologies, we look forward to sympathetically restoring Edinburgh’s Old Royal Infirmary hospital for the wider benefit of the community.”

Works are due to commence in spring 2019 with an overall completion expected ahead of the start of the academic year in 2021. At construction peak, the project will employ workforce of 170 and employ a range of local supply chain partners.

The Edinburgh Reporter spoke with the architects Rab and Denise Bennetts of Bennetts Associates who designed the new use for the old hospital. We spoke to them about how the building will be remodelled here :