Old Schoolhouse 

Morningside | Edinburgh

Building for Community


We have designed and restored a Category B listed Schoolhouse in Edinburgh for our clients Cornerstone Church - a community building serving the needs of the Church and the wider community of Morningside.


Cornerstones vision was to create “a busy and bustling building, a vibrant centre for community life, accessible to all and an attractive resource for the area.” 

Mills + McCullough Architects Old Schoolhouse Retrofit Project. Night time view from Morningside Road in Edinburgh

The Old Schoolhouse has served community life in Morningside for almost 200 years. The building closed as a school in 1892 due to a growth in population and has been used as a place of worship and community gathering space from 1900 to the present day.  


We worked with Cornerstone to enhance the buildings capacity and increase its flexibility while restoring characteristics of the original fabric that had been lost over time. A dynamic relationship and transparency between the internal spaces and the buildings surroundings has been created - fulfilling a key element of Cornerstone’s brief to reconnect activities within the building with the surrounding context. 


A new entrance releases the Main Hall to become the heart of the building and improves the physical and visual connections to Morningside Road.


The new facility is generous in proportion and filled with light. While the project has a minimal increase in area of only six square meters, the perceived gain in space is much more significant. Inhabited walls contain many functional elements of the building and circulation space has been reduced to ensure that the space for gathering is maximised.


The transformation of both the interior and exterior of the building was key to achieving the new identity required to fulfil our clients aims and objectives.  The quality of the materials, the light filled volumes and improved physical and visual connections combine to make the building feel like a coherent series of functional spaces with a refined and considered aesthetic.  A stark contrast to what preceded.


The unquantifiable but most impactful gain is the experiential qualities of each space that engage the senses.


New architectural elements draw inspiration from the surrounding context and result in a building that has depth, proportion and rhythm, commensurate with the historic setting. New elements are distinct from the old, complementing the rich material palette of the original building and its wider context.

The Old Schoolhouse in Morningside Edinburgh owned by Cornerstone Church. A renovation project by Mills + McCullough Architects
‘It’s such a charming building, it’s got great historic value and what’s been done through the refurbishment has captured what is best about the building, but also allowed it to be opened up and enjoyed in new ways, for generations to come.’

Neil MacMillan


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Old Schoolhouse Proposed Axonometric Drawing.