City & Country, the UK’s leading developer of heritage buildings, has been awarded Best Residential Property for its restoration and conversion of The Playfair at Donaldson’s in the 2019 RICS Awards.
The annual RICS Awards recognise the most inspirational initiatives in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure across the UK. Across eight categories, the regional awards celebrate Scotland’s most impressive property projects and their impact on local communities.
Judged by a panel of industry experts, The Playfair at Donaldson’s was said to exemplify ‘a sympathetic conversion with a strong conservation principle to provide unique accommodation and create a remarkable and striking residential development’.
The Playfair at Donaldson’s is renowned as one of the most iconic buildings in Edinburgh. The building has a fascinating history, having been constructed between 1842 and 1851 after its benefactor, James Donaldson, bequeathed all of his property to build and found a hospital for children after his death. Its first use was as an orphanage, before being turned into a specialist school for deaf children. Over the past few years, City & Country has painstakingly worked to restore and convert the former college into 112 luxurious properties.
The striking design of the Playfair building is the master work of renowned visionary architect William Henry Playfair, whose other famous work includes the National Monument and the National Gallery of Scotland. At Donaldson’s, City & Country has worked hard to ensure the building’s original features are preserved where possible, allowing Playfair’s original vision to be recognised throughout the development. The Playfair possesses a multitude of significant original features including a central clock tower, domed turrets, a chapel and stone spiral staircase. Where missing, original features have been documented in historical documents where possible City & Country has commissioned intricate replicas, ensuring as much of the building’s integrity is maintained as possible.
Internally, the apartments combine original features with chic contemporary specifications. The clever use of space makes best use of the historic fabric, creating many unique living spaces ranging from basement studios, apartments with mezzanine levels and penthouse accommodation in a wide variety of sizes.
Suzanne Aplin, Sales & Marketing Director at City & Country, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this highly coveted prize, and thank the judges for their outstanding feedback. This is another fantastic award to add to our collection and it recognises our commitment to breathing new life into historic buildings.”