The long narrow blocks are located just off the Royal Mile between closes that run down to Cowgate, following the historic pattern of Edinburgh Old Town development. A new close slopes down between the blocks, with main access and lift shaft located in one block, and a glazed lobby linking the blocks at all levels above the new close. The café occupies the northern end of both blocks in a single space with further accommodation and an external cafe terrace at ground level.
The complex stepping in situ concrete basement structure, including new retaining wall replacing the original dilapidated masonry walls, is founded on board cast in situ concrete piles socketed into the sandstone bedrock. The structure is designed to allow for movement between the blocks. The main structural frame and floor plates are in situ reinforced concrete, with the floors being cast on thin precast concrete units. The top two storeys forming maisonette flats have pitched steel portal frames with floor cross-members. Secondary steelwork connected to the gable frames provides an oversail prow to the roof.