The Transformation of High School Yards

At the beginning of the High School Yards building project (February 2012), ECCI worked with Edinburgh University Students Association to find a student photographer to help create a photographic record of the transformation of the site.

The aim was to find a creative photographer or photojournalist to capture compelling images of the building process. The successful applicant, Elizabete Rancane, also proposed a series of more abstract works, which explore the materials used during the project using a creative approach.

The exhibition now on display at High School Yards includes:

Documentary Images - Chronicling the stages of the building process from various different viewpoints (15 images).

Panoramic images - in order to create a wide-angled view from a selection of vantage points, the photographer captured several photographs that where then stitched together to create a seamless picture (5 images).

Liquid Light images - the liquid emulsion process is an alternative method of producing images that gives an aged effect, similar to an old photograph or oil painting. The method involves using a silver-based sensitizer for applying on any surface and then exposing the image with an enlarger. The liquid emulsion is almost identical to emulsion found on ordinary photographic paper but the liquid form allows the emulsion to be coated on a wide range of surfaces (6 images).

Electron Microscope images - this series explores the materials used during the project using a creative approach. The photographer used a scanning electron microscope (SEM), which produces images of a sample by scanning it with a focused beam of electrons, to capture a selection of materials used in the building including wood, slate, insulation and fermacell. SEM can achieve resolution better than 1 nanometer.

Textured Images – this series captures the range and diversity of sustainable materials used in the project from traditional stonework to specialist timber.

Historic images – top to bottom: Royal High School Building erected in 1777; in 1832 as the Surgical Hospital; after the hospitals moved away and before the university took over the building at the end of 19th century it was temporarily derelict; in its last guise as the Department of Archaeology.


Our new building:

What makes it innovative:

What makes it green: 


Photography project:

Learning & teaching: