Project Description

  • Inverness, Scotland
  • Scoop AM LLP

Pod Architects have been appointed by Scoop AM LLP, on behalf of Eastgate Unit Trust, to develop the design and regeneration of the Eastgate shopping centre and Falcon Square, the surrounding town square in the heart of Inverness city.

The development is situated in the centre of town adjacent to the main line railway station. As Inverness is the gateway to the Highlands of Scotland, it has become a popular destination for tourists and visitors from the Highlands alike.

The project consists of a number of development initiatives within the shopping centre and Falcon Square, which provides the arrival sequence to the main entrance to the centre and concentrates on the introduction of popular family restaurants, which will transform the urban retail landscape.

The city centre has had to contend with the development of the Eastfield way shopping park on the edge of town and inevitably this has had some effect. The Eastgate shopping centre however remains strong and with the intended refurbishment of the railway station and the initiatives to regenerate the retail offers within the centre and Falcon square, the heart of the City is looking forward to a revival.

Eastgate shopping centre was developed in 2 sections; the first in the 1980s, followed by the newer development in the late 1990s and these are connected by a retail bridge link over the main road into town. Car parking for 1350 Spaces is situated below the buildings and the retail is set over 2 floors. It is the predominant building in the City centre however has some of the less attractive characteristics of older shopping schemes.

Falcon Square is edged by two listed buildings which have been converted into retail use.  Planning permission has been sought for a contemporary glass fronted extension to the first of these listed buildings which contains an existing restaurant facing into the Square. The extension to the facade of the centre transforms the outlook of the Square to house four new restaurants, all with outside seating, becoming a destination food and beverage quarter. The introduction of a roof top bar and restaurant will give striking views over Inverness’ historic roof-scape. At the heart of the centre is a food court for which designs for refurbishment are underway, along with the realignment of some of the retail malls and units to encourage better footfall.

Pod Architects have been involved in the project from the outset and the key driver for the architectural concept has been to introduce a contemporary influence into the existing buildings. The predominant materials of the centre and surrounding square is stone, render and slate roofs. We have sought to encourage a lighter touch to contrast with the heavy traditional buildings by the use of structural glazing and metal panels. The design approach respects the character of the existing buildings with the use of stone where appropriate. The movement through the town square and sight lines to the new outlets were of particular concern and this has influenced the plan and shape of the buildings by introducing ‘The Curve’, which draws the pedestrian through the various routes.

The project is programmed to start on site in the autumn 2016 with completion in the summer of 2017, with a number of pre-let units for the restaurants.