In 1970 the Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society bought a six-acre site adjoining Holyrood Park, on Dalkeith Road for their new headquarters. By November 1972 Sir Basil Spence, Glover and Ferguson had been commissioned as architects. This was the second time the practice had been commissioned by the company to build a head office in Edinburgh: in 1962 they had completed their St Andrew’s Square office.
The Dalkeith Road office is made up of interlocking hexagonal blocks varying in height from one to four storeys. An underground car park for 300 cars is to the northeast. The interior space is made up of open plan offices arranged around two service cores.
The building was planned to be in harmony and scale with the site. For example, the hexagonal shape used reflects the geological structure of the surrounding basalt rock. The practice also paid particular attention to the aerial view of the building because Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags overlook it. The relationship with the surrounding area is continued throughout the office. The plants within the workspaces link the interior with the gardens and park beyond, and the staff restaurant opens onto terraces with views towards Arthur’s Seat.
The office was officially opened in March 1976. It won a number awards including the 1977 RIBA Award for Scotland.