Macmillan Square Community Hub, Edinburgh


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Community facilities
City of Edinburgh Council
April 2024
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Connecting the Pennywell community with new facilities constructed for City of Edinburgh Council

A new community hub which will become a focal point for families and visitors to the new Pennywell development in Edinburgh is being delivered by Robertson.

Connecting the library, early learning centre and North Edinburgh Arts building, the facilities will attract users to each service and create a warm and inviting centre for education and expression.

The Macmillan Square Community Hub forms an important part of the Pennywell Regeneration Masterplan for our customer the City of Edinburgh Council and will bring new learning opportunities and culture to the area.


early learning places




local people hired

A hub of activity

The Macmillan Community Hub will become a bustling place of culture and ideas.

Complementing the City of Edinburgh Council's new library, early years centre and affordable housing in Pennywell, the new hub will allow arts and learning to be brought together under one roof in this striking new building.

There will be a learning and creative studio space, and accompanying workshop, giving visitors a space to let their creativity flow, while the new café at the front of the building will provide an area for the community to meet and come together.

The MacMillan Community Hub will offer the community in North Edinburgh an extensive range of services and form an important part of the regeneration of Pennywell.

Integrating the community by connecting facilities

Bringing people together is an important focus for the community hub and this is encouraged by the building's clever design.

A shared entrance to the library, early learning centre and North Edinburgh Arts building means that visitors to one will have the chance to enjoy all three as the lines between each have been intentionally blurred.

A new café is being included in the project at the front of the building to act as a social hub within the facility.

The library is a two-level space with books at the ground floor and a skills base above.

There is a shared staff room with the early years centre and offices with the arts centre, and large windows facing on to the square give views to the left of the arts centre and library to the right.

It's a beautifully considered building with community use and ease of access at the very heart of the design and delivery.

Solving complex challenges to bring our customers vision to life

The multi-purpose nature of the Macmillan Square development is one of its biggest strengths.

By including the residential element and the many services, the opportunities presented by the building are truly being maximised, but it has made the project more challenging.

As there are so many different services and uses within the building, each part of the development must be made of different materials to meet different standards, and the added complexity to the project has been managed by to our attention to detail and commitment to high standards.

The bespoke design chosen for the exterior brickwork, called 'a shoal of fish', is a complex mixing of two colours of brick.

The left side of the building is almost entirely a bright brick with only a small number of dark bricks. As you reach closer to the centre of the building, more of the dark brickwork is present. The darker bricks begin to dominate towards the right of the building, before only a small number of lighter bricks are present.

Each brick has been specifically placed to create a beautiful tapestry of design that is attractive to the eye, useful for the visitors, but very challenging for our bricklayers.

The effect means that visitors understand which side of the building they are at, and the brickwork creates a unique effect which leaves a striking impression on visitors, staff and members of the community passing the building,

Through our approach to attention to detail and understanding the importance of this design choice, we have delivered an impressive-looking building and met our client's wishes.

Working with the community

Macmillan Square is for the benefit of the community and it has been extremely important to us that the construction project has had as little negative impact on local people as possible.

The building site is surrounded by a live and busy residential area, with a medical centre and shopping precinct also nearby.

We have worked with local community groups to make them aware of the work we are carrying out, explaining the different phases, and listening to their views to find out what we can do help limit any impact.

Creating a positive and lasting impact on the local community

It's important to everyone at Robertson that we support the areas we work in, and some of our most ambitious targets as a business focus on the benefits we bring.

By 2030 we will have created £1 billion of social value, by enhancing lives and spending locally in the areas where our projects are based.

More than 20 people who live within 10 miles of Macmillan Square Community Hub were hired to work on the project.

We created four apprenticeships and four work experience places on this project, giving eight local people valuable career opportunities.

We also supported the local supply chain. We worked with 28 local partners and spent nearly £2million within 20 miles of the Pennywell development.

By investing in local businesses, we are bringing additional benefit beyond the many advantages Macmillian Square Community Hub will bring to the local community.

It's the Robertson Way.