Visionary behind the UK’s “Best Luxury Development” gives rare insight into its creation

by Kelly Horn

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

Richard Murphy OBE answers questions for CALA Homes (East)

ONE of the country’s most renowned architects, Richard Murphy OBE, has revealed what he hopes will be the legacy of Scotland’s most upmarket and ambitious new development.

In an exclusive video for the housebuilder filmed at his Edinburgh home, the creative mind behind The Crescent in Edinburgh’s west end, provided a rare and detailed insight into the creation of the development.

As the flagship development for CALA Homes (East) and winner of the UK’s Best Luxury Development at the WhatHouse? Awards, The Crescent’s forensically-considered design draws direct inspiration from the Scottish capital’s famous Georgian New Town architecture.

As part of its new #AskTheArchitect campaign which gives a rare insight into the design ethos and process, Richard discusses the architecture and the history of The Crescent, after questions were submitted by the public.

Richard said: “I hope first and foremost that The Crescent will go on to be seen as a residential and architectural success.

“Obviously one doesn’t want to make fake architecture, one wants to make something that is true to their own time and I also like the idea that buildings are rooted to their place.

“We need to make contemporary contributions to our townscape, which don’t detract from the history of the site but that put them into new settings, enhancing them in a way that was not originally imaginable.

“There are three architectural features which make The Crescent stand out so much. The first are the vast windows, which slide away completely and create this open space – meaning the living rooms become balconies in effect.

“The interlocking section is another incredible feature. Some developers might have been nervous about it but CALA has seen the logic in it – you get different heights of rooms inside the apartment and in particular the mezzanine levels which look out over the grounds.

“With the penthouses, there is a remarkable amount of outside space – the two end-plots in particular have potential for an expansive garden up there.

“I hope the people that buy them go to town on the garden, meaning the whole building will become habitable – not just the inside spaces.”
External image of The Crescent, by CALA Homes (East) © ZACandZAC.

The Crescent is heavily shaped by its location on the grounds of Edinburgh’s iconic Donaldson’s estate, contrasting, respecting and embracing the original Playfair building, previous a School for the Deaf, which was famously described by Queen Victoria as being more palatial than her own homes.

The Crescent’s interlocking storey structure means that apartments sit on up to four levels, allowing for vast double-height living spaces to the front. This uniqueness of design was integral to the development securing 12 industry award wins, becoming the most award-winning CALA project in history.

CALA Homes (East) has released the exclusive video with Richard Murphy on its social media @calahomes.

Founder of Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy Architects, Richard has won 20 RIBA Awards and was appointed an OBE in 2007 for services to architecture. Further leading projects he has designed include the Fruitmarket Gallery and Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh and Dundee Contemporary Art Gallery.

Richard has undertaken commissions throughout the UK and abroad and has recently designed the proposed Filmhouse at Edinburgh’s Festival Square.

Living area at The Crescent by CALA © ZACandZAC

Further on The Crescent:

The milestone development, this 84-home sweeping arc of glass-fronted apartments is situated in the tranquil grounds of Edinburgh’s grand Donaldson’s estate, within the city’s celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Just a mile west of Princes Street, and minutes from Haymarket Station, the collection of luxury apartments sit within 18 acres of established grounds, and has a variety of amenities on its doorstep alongside an impressive selection of transport links into and out of the city.

It also boasts the most comprehensive provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Scotland, as well as the largest communal garden in Edinburgh.

For more information, or to register interest in the Crescent development visit: or call 0131 341 2667.

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    elly Horn of Edinburgh PR agency, Holyrood PR

    Kelly Horn

    Senior Account Executive, Kelly Horn, is a part of the award-winning PR agency, Holyrood PR - based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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