SAGA Cinema opens in Haining by Craig Heap

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The latest SAGA Cinema realised in Haining, 80 miles west of Shanghai and 40 miles east of Hangzhou. A city that serves the core of the Hangzhou economic wider circle and the greater Hangzhou Bay Rim area. Haining has been promoting development between traditional and new modern emerging industries. The city is known for its export of fish and rice as well as silk and leather. Furthermore Haining is a city with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful scenery.

The new SAGA Cinema modelled within a larger shopping centre brings some of the characteristics of export and industry into the interior design of the cinema. The cinema offers an interior that with its wide range of services such as meeting areas, café, lounges and parks, allowing the user to wonder and fully dive in the world of the Haining SAGA cinema experience.

The cinema takes its concept from the export containers used exporting the goods from Haining and these containers take centre stage as the entrance into each cinema screen. With over 10 screen rooms in a variety of sizes including a kid’s screen, the cinema accommodates all ages and genres.

A simple material palette of concrete, stone, brick and steel is complimented with soft lounge parks and bold colours within the screen rooms and throughout the interior spaces.

The design developed through a detailed consultation process between the Holmes Miller Interior teams in the UK and China, led by Nick Roemer. The close working between the teams allowed a detailed understanding of the vision and requirements of the services essential to this cinema. The final design was led on site by HMC Interior designer Maribel Cervantes Ochoa  who maintained direct contact with the Client and took the concept design to the next level, delivering a project with a refined attention to detail.

Pennywell All Care Centre officially opened by Craig Heap


Holmes Miller was delighted to see The Pennywell All Care Centre, one of three partnership centres that make up a £27.6 million programme delivered by NHS Lothian in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and West Lothian Council, officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison.

The Health Secretary said: “It’s been great to get a chance to come along and see first-hand these new facilities that will make a huge difference to the people of North West Edinburgh.

“The Pennywell All Care Centre is truly an excellent example of health and social care services working together to provide the right services, in the right place, with patient care at the heart.”

The DBFM project was delivered by Graham Construction via hub South East.

Link to hub South East news item.

Inspiring the next generation by Craig Heap


Holmes Miller was out in force today to support the hub West Scotland Careers Event at Turnbull High School in Bishopbriggs.  Rhiannon, Lina and James were providing valuable career advice and insight in the varying aspects of our work at Holmes Miller, including Architectural Services, Interior Design and Computer Generated Visualisation.

The kids were all armed with some tricky questions regarding 'how much money do you earn?' and 'what kind of car do you drive?'. 

'My other car is a Porsche' seemed to get the kids excited about a career in architecture!


Isabel Garriga elected GIA President by Craig Heap


Congratulations to Isa on being voted in as the next GIA President.

"This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Glasgow Institute of Architects and I am delighted to have been elected as president of such a great Institution. As a result of the hard work and dedication of the numerous past presidents and council members we can celebrate our achievements during our long history. Thank you to all of them.

The GIA is continuously growing and changing and I am very proud to have such a dedicated, reliable, hardworking and passionate team and we plan to make sure we can make the GIA an organisation that is transparent, democratic and most of all, truly represents the variety and richness of architecture and architects in our chapter. We want to keep improving the things that we are well known for such as the Design Awards, Student Awards, the Glasgow Urban Design Panel, our great CPD series and building visits as well some of our more innovative new projects such as PaperCUT. We will also work to improve some of our own processes and efficiency such as the newly reformed Conservation and Sustainability Committee and the RIAS Liaison Committee.

As a woman myself, I want to make sure that women have a bigger voice in our profession, that our work is recognised and celebrated to ensure we have true equality for future generations.

I hope my passion for architecture in both my work in practice and as an educator in university, can create further connections between education and the profession. Over the years, the GIA has been kindly supported by many private practices, without their support and generosity none of our activities would be possible, thank you to all of them. On a personal note, I would like to thank my own practice, Holmes Miller who have continuously supported my predecessor and I, enabling us to have such active roles in the GIA.

Over the next 2 years I look forward to working with other industry related professionals, institutions, local councils and the RIAS to help bring focus to the incredible emerging talent that is all around us. Viva la GIA!

Isabel Garriga, GIA President"

Any Part 1 Graduate Architects out there ? by Craig Heap


Holmes Miller is seeking applications from talented, enthusiastic and ambitious Pt1 graduate architects to join our Glasgow studio to work on major projects in the UK and abroad.

To be considered for this role you will need excellent design, technical, and organisational skills as well as an appreciation and passion for architecture. Proven ability with Sketch-Up, Autocad and Adobe Suite is essential with experience in Revit and Rhino desirable.

Holmes Miller is a design-led practice, providing feasibility, planning and building design services to public and private clients in a number of key sectors; Commercial, Education, Healthcare, Justice, Residential, Sport & Leisure. Our geographic spread extends throughout UK and internationally with projects in China, USA and India.

We offer excellent working conditions from our Glasgow studio. All successful candidates must be able to provide proof of your eligibility to work without restriction in the UK.

If you are interested in this post then please e-mail an up-to-date CV with examples of your work, plus contact details, to

We are hiring ! by Craig Heap


Holmes Miller is seeking applications from talented, enthusiastic and ambitious Part 2 architect graduates to join our Glasgow & London studios to work on major projects in the UK and abroad. Position will include opportunity to travel to Guangzhou for short durations (1 month) where you will actively contribute to large scale design projects with Holmes Miller China.

To be considered for this role you will need excellent design, technical, and organisational skills as well as an appreciation and passion for architecture.  Proven ability with Sketch-Up, Autocad and Adobe Suite is essential with experience in Revit and Rhino desirable.

Holmes Miller is a design-led practice, providing feasibility, planning and building design services to public and private clients in a number of key sectors; Commercial, Education, Healthcare, Justice, Residential, Sport & Leisure. Our geographic spread extends throughout UK and internationally with projects in China, USA and India.

We offer excellent working conditions from our Glasgow and London studios. Salary will be commensurate with experience and may lead to Part 3 Qualification sponsorship with opportunity for career advancement.

Immediate availability is preferred, but not essential. All successful candidates must be able to provide proof of your eligibility to work without restriction in the UK.

If you are interested in joining our team then please e-mail an up-to-date CV with examples of your work, plus contact details, to

HM scoops new Huafa HQ in Zhuhai, China by Ryan Holmes


HM have recently been awarded the Huafa West Headquarters, having successfully secured the commission through an international competition. 

This project is located in the heart of Jinwan aviation new town and will provide, High-end business offices, hotel, commercial and residential units for the ever expanding City.

Happy Retirement Rosie by Craig Heap


Today, with a wee tear in our eyes and a much longer ‘to do’ list, we celebrate the retirement of our Practice Secretary, Rosemary Fee.

Rosie started working at The Miller Partnership in 1986, before being poached to join Holmes Partnership in 1994.  Perhaps Rosie was the advanced party in the merger of our 2 practices in 2012 to form Holmes Miller!  Rosie has kept our business(es) running smoothly for over 3 decades, always with a cheery smile, immaculately dressed and some fancy footwork!

So congratulations on a job well done Rosie, everyone at Holmes Miller wishes you a wonderful and well deserved retirement. 

Time to get the dancing shoes out …

Holmes Miller Shortlisted For International Sports Campus Project by Craig Heap

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In March 2018 Holmes Miller Architects entered an international design competition organised by the Huafa Group, on behalf of the City of Zhuhai.

The coastal city of Zhuhai is located on the border with Macau in China's southern Guangdong province. Following transformation into one of China's first Special Economic Zones in 1980, today the city is known for golf resorts, theme parks and islands off the Pearl River Delta. The world's longest bridge (37miles, $16bn) is set to open in 2018, which will connect Zhuhai to Hong Kong in 30 minutes - and transform Zhuhai's fortunes.

The City of Zhuhai has already constructed a world class tennis venue (2015) and it is now on the international tennis event calendar - the next step is to create a Sports Campus of a scale capable of hosting major international sporting events. The design competition to create the campus was launched in late 2017 and Holmes Miller's office in Guangzhou was one of 24 registered companies competing to make it to the final stages of the competition. 

Holmes Miller's offices in Glasgow and Guangzhou regularly collaborate on projects - 9000 miles is no problem to us - but this was the first opportunity to work on a Sports Architecture project together.  

The Zhuhai International Sports Campus competition brief called for an extensive program of facilities on a large site;

-25,000 Capacity Stadium

-16,000 Capacity Arena

-Gymnasium Complex

-Swimming Complex

-Youth, Women and Children's Community Complex

-250 Bedroom Accommodation Complex

-Retail Complex

-Outdoor Sports Pitches

Following a period of design charrettes in both Glasgow and Guangzhou, a vibrant Holmes Miller team, led by Ian Cooney, worked together to develop a design concept that could bring all of these elements together in a scheme with a distinctive aesthetic that reflected the context and character of Zhuhai. Taking inspiration from the coastal location, the scheme looked to the Islands within the Pearl River Delta and arranged the sports buildings as an Archipelago - parkland and retail at its heart - with views towards the stunning ocean setting. Finally, buildings took on a hue that referenced the locality of Golden Bay.

From a field of 24 teams, the final entries were 10 nos. and included notable European based international firms in the form of Zaha Hadid London, Populous Australia and GMP of Germany. The remaining entries consisted of Chinese Firms, including Harbin Architecture and Tsinghua Architecture - two prominent companies. Following the presentations Holmes Miller were delighted to hear we were shortlisted to the final 5 entries of the competition along with the aforementioned - a recognition of the quality of our design, the team's dedication, and our ability to compete with larger firms on the international stage.

Alas, there can only be one winner and it was announced that Tsinghua Architecture of Beijing were selected as the winning team - we congratulate them on their winning design, and wish Huafa Group the best of luck with the project.

Who Cares About Metrics ? by Craig Heap

When observing early walking pre-school toddlers within nursery settings, it is easy to appreciate that in excess of 2,300 steps per hour are accumulated, with children walking more than 2.6 miles per day within a playroom setting. This figure increases in children when walking becomes more confident, and risk of falls diminishes.

It therefore becomes difficult to imagine how this energy and movement can be accommodated, when minimum space standards for New Early Years Centres are being applied.

Recognising the significant investment being made in early years provision in Scotland, Holmes Miller has questioned whether a ‘metric led’ approach to design will derive the optimum environment for pre-school education, and challenge local authorities to consider an ‘experience based’ accommodation schedule to create a truly immersive learning environment.

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In short, the area metrics for Early Years expansion relate directly to the funding mechanisms upon which these projects are being procured. They are vital to the quantity surveyors and programme managers involved at strategic level, formulating the Capital Plans for Scotland’s local authorities, to fund these projects – and these are the disciplines that rely on this benchmark data to provide them with a basis for supporting an Early Years Expansion Programme. This however, is where the function of ‘the metric’ should end, and in the context of delivering innovative learning environments, should be the hidden cost mechanism, not the governing factor dictating these projects. Application of ‘the metric’ should therefore have little influence over the educationalists, teaching staff, architects and designers involved in the 1140 hours programme, and the notion of directly applying a square metre per child ratio to the design of an Early Years Facility directly contradicts the documented best practice and published learnings of key educationalists, stifling opportunities for development of a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence, along with their physical, social and personal awareness skills.

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In considering a template for Early Years provision for local authorities, two immediate typologies are identified, both offering a model for learning, and at polar opposites from the perspective of a built solution. Utilising a ‘metric led’ approach will ultimately derive a functional built form that offers the maximum permissible internal floor area whilst aligning with the project cost parameters. The benefit of this approach is that a building arrangement is generated that aligns with the preconceived ideology of how an authority controlled educational facility should function. Aspects such as an entrance lobby, waiting area, administration suites, meeting rooms and circulation areas, coupled with security zones, plant spaces, server rooms and facilities management are arranged around the infant playrooms, and provide a facility that local authorities are adept at managing and offer parents the surety that their child is protected. This methodology should not be dismissed, as there are numerous examples that offer innovation in their design and delivery. Holmes Miller has developed a solution that brings all the benefits of off-site manufacture, to provide Councils with a flexible solution that can be expanded to suit anticipated pupil rolls, and delivered efficiently, whilst aligning with expected cost metrics. This option can be customised to suit context, with a range of cladding solutions possible, and the large volume playrooms can be easily defined to marry with an early year’s curriculum.

The conflict in this ‘metric led’ approach however, is that a building is formed that creates on average, 2.2 square metres of ancillary and support accommodation, for every genuine square metre of play space. Coupled with this, continual pressure on project budgets can often lead to resultant playspaces resembling functional primary school classrooms, efficient in design and the delivery of a lecture based curriculum but institutional in aesthetic, and ineffective in catering for the wide ranging developmental needs of preschool children.

The alternative approach is to utilise the area metrics to set the upper limit on project value, and thereafter, develop an ‘experience based’ accommodation schedule, that considers the type of spaces that are needed to support a pre-school curriculum. This review would assess whether these spaces need to be indoors, in sheltered enclosure or outdoors, along with key adjacencies, with a view to generating a creative landscape for pupils to inhabit and explore. It also ensures that children remain active throughout the nursery day, with activities occurring in different zones that they can move freely between. From a local authority perspective, this Early Years model can become a key step in adopting the principals of the outdoor and woodland nurseries, where children are encouraged outdoors as often as possible, with the familiarity that stems from a built facility, and the associated security that it brings. In considering a notional 100 place early years centre, the ‘metric led’ approach would deliver a facility of 580m², of which approximately 240m² would be viable teaching + playspace. The alternative approach, through rationalising the true requirement for indoor space, could offer a facility of 1030m², with 240m² of registerable indoor playspace, along with a further 550m² sheltered, multi-level activity space that can be used throughout the year.

This design approach would not only provide local authorities with outstanding value for money, but would offer pre-school children an engaging and dynamic early years setting, within which they can grow and develop. Fully embracing the ‘Space to Grow’ guidance, this design response would enrich the Early Years curriculum through the following:

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-        Interconnected playrooms grouped around a central courtyard, with flexible partitions to allow the spaces to adapt to suit teaching activities, dining and sleeping. Formed using an efficient modular design, these indoor playrooms will use natural materials to create a calming environment, whilst fully sliding doors effortlessly connect between inside and out.

-        A vibrant and dynamic nursery courtyard, fully undercover and protected from the elements, this space offers children the opportunity to run, jump and explore, outwith the playroom setting, in fresh air. This space is designed to provide children with exposure to a huge range of experiences. The ramps to two sides of the courtyard allow pupils to run onto the roof of the playrooms and experience an elevated view over the nursery. The lightweight roof of the courtyard will transform the environment of the nursery with the weather patterns, with lightning illuminating the space, rain drops filling the space with noise and sunlight casting shadows across the ground. The scale of this space will allow Early Years staff to create a multitude of experiences for children, offering tents and tipis as reading corners, indoor planting areas that form small winter gardens, material areas to allow construction, water play and craft skills to be taught on a far larger scale and growing areas where soft fruit and vegetables can be planted. Principally however, the courtyard is an active space where children can move freely. The open sides to the enclosure will allow the noise of pupils to be heard across the surrounding neighbourhood, integrating the building as part of the community.

-        The landscape surrounding the early years centre would be equally as engaging, with a series of ‘low-tech’ interventions designed to bring educational benefit. Rainwater would be collected and used within the garden areas, or distributed through a surface swale to form a wetland garden. Linked to the bin store would be a composting area, allowing organic produce to be reused within raised beds. The landscaping would offer a range of textures and surfaces, with ‘risk elements’ introduced, such as climbing trees, mounds and tunnels to allow children to develop their self-confidence and agility skills. A fire pit, activity lawn and decked areas will offer practical spaces for outdoor learning to take place, bringing the key lessons from woodland nurseries directly to urban and suburban local authority centres.

-        The permeable nature of the building will allow parents on arrival and departure to see and hear first-hand, the activities and challenges their child is facing. Linked with this, an enhanced entrance area provides a space for pupil profiles to be stored, along with direct access to a small meeting area. This arrangement would allow parents to read through their child’s progression notes at collection time, and have a conversation with teachers and staff on an informal basis, encouraging pupil development to extend to the home, and offering a support structure without stigma. 

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Who cares about metrics? We don’t, but we have an acute understanding of the financial mechanisms behind these projects, and can utilise this investment to deliver the optimum solution for Scotland’s authorities. The 1140 hours commitment offers an unrivalled opportunity to sculpt the delivery of pre-school education for generations to come, and we are passionate to ensure that these new buildings are designed to offer a truly immersive early years’ experience.

Contact our education team to discuss further.

Callum Houston

Craig Heap

Mark Ellson

Ryan Holmes




Pennywell All Care Centre opens to public by Craig Heap


The new Pennywell All Care Centre brings together a range of primary healthcare and support services.  The building offers patients a wide range of co located services in a modern purpose built facility providing flexibility to meet changing needs.  The accommodation enables NHS Lothian and The City of Edinburgh Council to develop an integrated and efficient model of service delivery as part of the wider Pennywell and Muirhouse Regeneration project.

The design developed through a detailed consultation process with key stakeholders from the different client bodies and staff.  These meetings have allowed a detailed understanding of the particular needs of the services and users and the patients they serve.

The new three storey building wraps around a central landscaped courtyard, providing a calming outlook with the main public ‘street and waiting areas taking advantage of it.  The building form maximises the potential for natural light and ventilation.  Glazing on the three primary facades provide a transparency to activities in the main public areas with views through to the courtyard within.  The main vertical circulation route for visitor is clear and obvious and contributes to the active facade.

‘Public’, non clinical accommodation is readily accessible off the main north-south street.  Wayfinding for visitors is clear with accessible waiting areas located adjacent to the linked clinical space.

Externally the building is clad in a buff facing brick with pc concrete wall panels, column and beam features contributing the civic presence the building demands and differentiate from the adjoining housing now under development

Glasgow’s Tenement Tradition: Are we British or European? by Craig Heap


Holmes Miller Architect John Joseph Burns recently took part in a lively debate held by the Glasgow City Heritage Trust entitled ‘Glasgow’s Tenement Tradition: Are we British or European?’ as part of their City Talk series. He was an invited panelist along with an international group of speakers representing Glasgow School of Art, Historic Scotland, North of England Civic Trust and the Barcelona Institute of Urban Landscape.

John presented his own research of the historic significance and typological development of Glasgow Tenements and their similarities to those found on Continental Europe as opposed to the terrace housing predominant in English cities. Alongside this he also presented the work of the office in their continuing role contributing to the ‘New Tenements’ in areas such as the ‘New Gorbals’ and Oatlands and his own experience working on the recent Park Quadrant project located in the West End of Glasgow. The speakers provoked an interesting debate in the audience that touched on subjects ranging from maintenance and new build procurement to legal protection for tenants & homeowners and even the idea of Scottish identity.

HM complete works at Glasgow's SEC by Ryan Holmes


Holmes Miller Interior Design worked closely together with the team at the SEC to come up with the design brief for a missing 400 seater VIP conference suite within the SEC Exhibition Centre. The project involved the internal fit-out of an unused restaurant / meeting facility and adjacent mezzanine area on the first floor within the Scottish Exhibition Centre to create a new state of the art Meeting facility that would close this gap. The dark and outdated restaurant space is turned into a bright, open and exciting conference interior that compliments and lifts the look and feel of the SEC Meeting Academy.

Trip to the east....... by Ryan Holmes


Holmes Miller Associate Director, Ryan Holmes has newly returned from our growing Guangzhou office, where he was assisting the team bidding for a major mixed use development in Zhuhai, China.   

'The Arena' nominated for Stadium of the Year 2017 by Craig Heap

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Holmes Miller’s ‘The Arena’ stadium Ahmedabad, has been nominated for Stadium of the Year 2017, the first ever from India in 8 years of the competition.

The Arena, by TransStadia, is India’s first convertible multi-purpose stadium – using a globally patented technology, which converts an outdoor stadium into an indoor arena within 6 minutes at a touch of a button..

The 20-000 seater state-of-the-art football stadium, (catering for 14 sports including volleyball, basketball, squash, table tennis & tennis, amongst others), can be converted to an air-conditioned 32,000 sq. ft. pillar-less multi-purpose indoor arena.  The venue also lays great emphasis on sustainable development through water conservation by rainwater harvesting, mist fire-fighting and zero waste water discharge with a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant and water treatment plant; decreasing load on water resources by reusing and recycling 100 per cent of used or treated water.

HM Lunch Club : Christmas by Craig Heap

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Our last Lunch Club of 2017 in aid of our chosen charity, The Paul O'Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre, had a Christmas theme to get us all in the mood for the festive period.

Santa and his elves served up a tasty menu,  including some lovely mulled wine, from Christmas Market stalls.

Watch this space to see which HM bay served up the best HM Lunch Club of the year!

Major Athletic Complex for Rowan University, USA by Craig Heap

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Our Sports team, led by Robert Kennedy and Ian Cooney, have been travelling back and forth to New Jersey, USA developing the design for a major athletic complex with Rowan University. 

Some positive news to end 2017 on with the announcement that The Rowan University Board of Trustees at its December 13 meeting approved a resolution to enter into a letter of intent with West Campus Fields (WCF) to lease nearly 300 acres to WCF for the development of a multi-sport athletic complex.  

“The Board’s vote demonstrates Rowan’s full commitment to the project,” said Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University. “We are confident that WCF will be able to secure what it needs to make this project a great success. We look forward to sharing the specifics as the project progresses.” 

The University has been working closely with Elite Development Program (EDP), the lead partner in West Campus Fields, to develop the planned complex, which will include a 4,500-seat arena, an indoor training center, more than 50 athletic fields, artificial turf fields, baseball fields, tennis courts, outdoor track and field venues, a hotel and retail space. 

Steve Shilling, president of EDP, commented: “We are excited to be working with Rowan University and our development partners to build what we believe will be the best youth sports venue in the United States.”

The facilities are expected to draw 1.5 million visitors a year, primarily for youth sports tournaments and training. The complex also will be home to Rowan University Athletics.

The plan calls for the complex to be on Rowan’s West Campus, at the intersection of Routes 55 and 322 (Harrison and Mantua townships in Gloucester County), 2 miles from the University’s Glassboro campus. Site plans are still being developed, however. 

Rowan University began purchasing farmland at the intersection in 2002 and eventually assembled 600 acres, bisected evenly by Route 322. In 2008, Rowan opened the South Jersey Technology Park on the north side. The University sold approximately 100 acres south of Route 322 to Inspira Health Network in 2016 to build a regional hospital, which is under construction today.