Jonathan Tuckey Design has recently completed a feasibility proposal for the renovation of a grand early-19thcentury listed building for the Deaf Action charity in Edinburgh’s New Town. Historically, Edinburgh has been an important centre for the deaf community and culture seeing the world’s first regular school for deaf children in 1760 established by Thomas Braidwood. In 1889, 49 Albany Street became the charity’s headquarters, and was renamed Deaf Action in 2003 to deliver a range of services from social work, communication support, employability and youth services designed to promote independence and encourage equality of opportunity for deaf people.
The project covered the extensive refurbishment of the building, celebrating its cultural and historical significance whilst providing new learning spaces, classrooms and event spaces. In line with our approach embracing an architecture of change and adaptive reuse, working with Deaf Action offered us the opportunity to create a dialogue between adaptive reuse and social infrastructure.
Observing the historical and aesthetic significance of the buildings, JTD recognised the opportunity to enhance the communal value by increasing the access and use of the building both to the deaf and broader communities. This can be seen in the three visualisations produced by Forbes Massie, presenting a café and meeting room, gallery and reading room and event space in the chapel. The interplay of light and shadow evokes a sense of quiet contemplation and helps separate the respective functionalities of the individual rooms.
With the remodelling of the building, JTD saw the opportunity to upgrade the key strategy of the building, to adopt sustainable methods and act as an example of converting historic buildings into sustainable zero carbon schemes.