The University of Edinburgh Mound / Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area (CDA) involved a large block of historic structures in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, including New College, Mylne's Court, James Court, the Outlook Tower, Lister House, and Semple's Court. New College and some residential properties, all badly in need of restoration, were transferred from the Church of Scotland to the University in 1961 . Ian G Lindsay & Partners were then engaged as architects for the restoration of New College and to produce a feasibility study for the conversion of Mylne's Court for student accommodation. In 1964 the University launched a Comprehensive Development Area project with the intention of creating a complex of student residences by purchasing and rehabilitating all the properties in the area. Percy Johnson-Marshall was made planning consultant with John Reid, of Ian Lindsay & Partners, as specialist conservation architects and Hall & Sons as consulting engineers.
Mylne's Court was successfully converted in two phases, Philip Henman Hall and Edward Salveson Hall (1966-1970 ). Other conversion projects within the CDA - James Court, the Outlook Tower and Semple's Close - were abandoned for economic reasons and the properties disposed of. With the exception of Lister House, which was reconstructed and re-opened as Patrick Geddes Hall in 1978 , named after Sir Patrick Geddes who worked from the Outlook Tower during the 1890s .
A scheme by architect John Reid, of Ian G Lindsay & Partners for an entirely new student hostel, together with a lecture room extension for New College was abandoned, in 1970 , in favour of full restoration of New College.