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After years of pragmatic alterations, the old Bank of Scotland building has been transformed to its former glory. Malcolm Fraser Architects has taken the rich heritage of the building and reworked the interior to create a European HQ for HBOS.

The original Bank of Scotland building was built by Reid and Crichton in 1806, before being remodelled by David Bryce in 1876 to create a large central telling hall and a more flamboyant baroque exterior. Throughout the 20th century, the building underwent a number of alterations, as lifts and new floors were inserted and features removed. In the 1980s, an intermediate floor was added to the great hall and much of the richly moulded ceiling was removed. Fortunately, Historic Scotland demanded that any material that was removed was stored.

The refurbishment has recovered the David Bryce Great Hall, and additional accommodation has been created in areas previously ?occupied by lifts. Fraser’s office was keen to uncover hidden treasures and allow the ?building to speak for itself – the practice’s ?ambition was to create something “unfussy and unflashy but clearly modern”.

The scheme reworks the public space and gardens around the building, creating a new square. The bank has also created a small museum within the new building which has been designed by Studio SP.

Modern IT services were carefully stitched in throughout the building, and the architects followed a low-energy strategy, using thermal heat pumps which can pump heat or recover it from shafts driven deep below the garden, depending on the season.

Lighting by Spiers Major’s includes bespoke fittings by Mike Stoane Lighting. The 5.5m ?chandelier, by Italian company Ronchetti, is the size of a room.

Photographer: Paul Zanre
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