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Renovation transformation: Scotland’s renewed buildings

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Have you ever wandered into an old building and grown wide-eyed at how modern it all looks? Ragged churches turned into high-class bars; opera houses given injections of life; and rustic warehouses turned into hip and happening apartments.

And no more is this trend more apparent than in bonny Scotland. No matter where you are in this kilted nation, you’re only a caber toss away from an aging building treated to the 21st century trimmings.

Even the oldest works of architecture can be given a new lease of life. And in the highlands and lowlands of Scotland, a nation with buildings dating back to the 14th century, the pros of design have made leaps and bounds in renewing old architecture – all while retaining their vintage feel.

So take a look at these cracking buildings that have had their interiors transformed. They’re all waiting for you in the haggis heartlands.

Buskers Nightclub, Dundee

Dundee is filled to the brim with old kirks (Scottish for church), from the High Kirk (which offers a stunning view from its vantage point at the top of the Law Hill) to the Steeple, a church with all the intricacy of a cathedral.

But Buskers can count itself as the only church in the city that’s been transformed into a nightclub.


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The renovated church is now home to a rockin’ music venue

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A new kind of music fills the space of this renovated historic church. Source A Music Blog, Yea


Despite bands bringing the house down almost every night, the club has retained its dark, churchlike atmosphere. The classic brickwork remains and the spires outside still reach for the sky.

The minimal changes to the interior arguably enhance the space. A mezzanine floor has been fitted to give extra room for clubbing crowds. And you probably won’t see effigies of John Lennon in most churches – but they’re worshipping pics of Beatlemania in Dundee’s premiere rock nightclub.

To see the venue really swing, visit during Dundee’s Blues Bonanza in the summer. Reaching full capacity, you’ll see how the modern and the ancient can seamlessly merge.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh is one of the more striking buildings in a city of striking buildings.

Opened in 1889, the Gallery’s exterior follows the Neo-Gothic trends of the time. At a glance, you could mistake it for Westminster or Chartres Cathedral.

However, it’s a perfect example of the transformation of space. The interior has been renovated entirely, giving visitors the sleek, pared back design they expect from a modern art gallery.

And if you’re still searching for design wonders in Scotland’s capital, head along to the Vaults. There you’ll find a series of underground caverns that have been transformed into the coolest theatre venues.


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The renovation kept the building’s historic character. Source: AllGood

A peek through the historic facade shows the building's modern interior. Source: Allgood

A peek through the historic facade shows the building’s modern interior. Source: Allgood

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The renovated building houses modern comforts while keeping its historic personality. Source: nationalgalleries.org


This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Have you got any favourite old buildings that have been given the modern touch? Then let us know in the comments below.

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