The Court is the latest addition to the Code Pod Hostels portfolio and occupies a 19th-century building on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile that until 1974 housed the city’s Police Chambers.
Local architecture office LBA was tasked with overseeing the adaptive reuse and refurbishment of the heritage-listed Georgian structure, which originally contained the police commissioner’s offices, as well as the public courts and holding cells.
The architects sought to preserve the character of the spaces by exposing the original walls and retaining existing markings and graffiti. The use of industrial materials and exposed services enhance the prison aesthetic.
‘We allowed the historic use pattern and materiality to define the design – playing on the concept of “spending the night in jail”,’ says LBA project lead, Mark Lean.
‘We were able to turn a challenging layout and a rather inhospitable material palette into positives, emphasising the hostel’s heritage aspect.’
Private rooms accommodated in the former cells retain their original vaulted ceilings and small windows, while dormitory rooms spread across five floors contain 200 pod beds featuring integrated power sockets, LED lights, hooks, a shelf and curtains for privacy.
Any guests interested in understanding more about the site’s criminal past can peruse displays at the reception area before locking their cell door for the night.