Southside Garage
status: completed 1999
project value: n/a

This petrol filling station and garage, designed and built c.1933, was Basil Spence’s first commercial project. It is one of only a clutch of Edinburgh buildings to flirt with the International moderne. Here Spence embraced the age of the motor car, creating a strongly expressed canted steel and concrete frame, a sleek curved glass kiosk plus a hoist for cars (both now demolished), and a highly glazed upper floor workshop. Its original function superseded by today’s plethora of city edge supermarket and petrol pit-stops, the building was literally saved from the bulldozers by our client. At this point Duffy and Batt (now Studio DuB) was able to effect a metamorphosis from derelict ruin to dramatic 2,800 sq. foot galleried apartment with roof terrace.

The ground floor lent itself to a new use as a retail unit. The upper space comprises a self-contained studio flat; a simply staggering 32′ square living space; a massive master bedroom en-suite and a dramatic gallery which houses a further bedroom and study area. Part of the brief was to accommodate the client’s spectacular collection of contemporary Scottish art. In keeping with the industrial ethic, a vast sliding screen was designed to hold a John Bellany triptych and to make the kitchen and utility areas disappear from view. Close attention to detail resulted in a bespoke sliding door designed to fit the contours of the industrial archaeology and a striking integral cantilevered dining table. This conversion attempts to fuse the heroic aspirations of Deco Moderne with contemporary living.

The fit-out reuses lamps salvaged from a warehouse in Leith. Bespoke items were also made including sofas which were so large that they had to be made in situ with industrial sewing machines brought to site.
“The most exciting residential Loft space in Scotland”
Tim Dawson, Homes & Interiors, Scotland

Design Team:
Gordon Duffy
Charlotte Batt
Photographers: Eric Thorburn; Rebecca Wober