Murchison House

Murchison House
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Murchison House

An award-winning architectural creation which lies on the northeastern edge of the University of Edinburgh's science campus at King's Buildings, Murchison House was designed by the government Property Services Agency in 1977 as the Scottish headquarters of the Institute for Geological Sciences (IGS). IGS became the British Geological Survey (BGS), an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council, with responsibility for undertaking geological mapping within the United Kingdom. Named for Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792 - 1871), who served as Director-General of the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom and also established the Regius Chair of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh, the building is a reinforced concrete frame construction, with five storeys and formed in an irregular H-plan. The BGS left the building in 2015 for the Lyell Centre, built on the Heriot-Watt University campus on the western periphery of Edinburgh. Murchison House was B-listed in 2016 and thereafter it was refurbished by Reiach & Hall Architects at a cost of £14 million for the University of Edinburgh, which had retained their ownership of the site. It now includes teaching and self-learning areas, together with offices for the College of Science and Engineering, Information Services and the University's commercialisation arm, Edinburgh Innovations, including a technology transfer centre.

While home to the BGS, the building included their Global Seismology Unit, studying earthquake activity and serving as the UK National Centre for monitoring compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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