Law’s Close, Kirkcaldy

Economic regeneration of a coastal town through restoration and adaptation of 16th Century Merchant’s House into mixed-use premises including flexible offices, educational facilities, and retail units.

The Project

Law’s Close is one of the finest surviving 16th Century townhouses in Scotland which took its present form when it belonged to a ship owning family called Law in the late 1500s.   The high status of the building is expressed in the fine interior decorations found throughout the building such as painted ceilings, plaster mouldings, multiple glazed windows and the use of cut-stone (ashlar work).

The building has an extensive collection of architectural and historically important details within its walls including a medieval wall painting, timber paneling, 16th century painted ceilings, a late 17th Century plasterwork ceiling and a 17th century wall painting of a ship possibly commemorating the arrival of Anne of Denmark to Scotland in 1589.

After a 20 year restoration project undertaken in several phases; the final phase of which  completed the restoration and adaptation of the building to re-open it as a premises for small local businesses, providing office space and retail units, predominantly for the creative industries.

Throughout the project archaeological investigations and historic research were carried out.  Phases of the building, significant features and details were all recorded and informed the restoration work and contributed to the permanent exhibition within the Education Room.

The significant interior decorations have been repaired and several lost structural features restored and rebuilt.  The property offers comfortable and unique office accommodation for its tenants who include a traditional stonemason and a holistic therapist, as well as a number of small charities.  The two retail units are occupied by the Tourist Information Centre and a Craft Shop/Cafe.

An educational room in the courtyard of the building offers workshop space and the building is frequently used for art exhibitions and open days.  The long rigg garden has been developed, as part of the Kirkcaldy Riggs Gardens Project, to relate a modern garden design to reflect the history of the house.  It is open to the public and includes an outside performance space. This is managed as a community garden.

Law’s Close was officially opened to the public in 2005 by the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Funders

THANK YOU to the following funders and supporters without whom this project would not have been possible:

Historic Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Enterprise Fife, Fife Environment Trust, European Regional Development Fund, Fife Council, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, The Russell Trust, Architectural Heritage Fund

With thanks to the Kirkcaldy Riggs Townscape Heritage Initiative.

‘It is a privilege to work in such a significant and interesting historic building which has been carefully restored and conserved. Law’s Close provides a refreshing alternative to the bland offices typically available to lease, and a cost-effective alternative to home-working’

Craig Frew,
Laing Traditional Masonry Group; Tenant.

Project Details

Building Developer and Owner
Scottish Historic Buildings Trust

Operator upon Completion
Scottish Historic Buildings Trust

Design Team:

Architect
Simpson & Brown Architects

Quantity Surveyor
Norman Wilkinson

Structural Engineer
Peter Stephen & Partners

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Enconsult

Building Archaeologists
Addyman Archaeology

Interior decoration advisers
John Nevin
The Conservation Studio, Edinburgh

Landscape Architect
John Richards Landscape Architects

Artists (Garden)
Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen

Project Cost

(Building – Final phase)
£950,000

Project cost (Garden)
£80,000

Images

AFTER

BEFORE

DURING

Awards

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Project Sheet

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Documents

Interpretation Panels

Copyright SHBT 2016