Edinburgh’s best Art Deco buildings guide, Scottish capital city architecture, 20th Century property in Scotland

Edinburgh’s Best Art Deco Buildings

11 Aug 2023

Edinburgh is renowned for its historical structures and majestic architecture. However, alongside the conventional designs, there are also remarkable examples of art deco buildings.

Edinburgh’s best Art Deco buildings guide

What is Art Deco?

Art Deco emerged in France during the 1910s, right before World War I. It gained popularity in the United States and Europe from the 1920s to the early 1930s. This artistic and design style significantly impacted various aspects of society, including visual arts, architecture, and product design. It influenced the appearance and structure of diverse objects and structures such as bridges, buildings (ranging from towering skyscrapers to cinemas), ships, ocean liners, trains, cars, trucks, buses, furniture, and even everyday items like radios and vacuum cleaners. Additionally, Art Deco played a role in shaping people’s fashion choices and jewelry preferences.

How does a building become Art Deco?

Art Deco architecture showcases unique building materials with a sleek appearance, including stucco, concrete block, glazed brick, and mosaic tile. These materials contribute to a smooth finish. The decorative elements of these buildings can encompass a wide range of artistic or exotic motifs, which may be chosen based on the building’s purpose or the architect’s personal preference.

The Best Art Deco Buildings in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the last place most people would think about when discussing art deco buildings, but there are many hidden gems to discover.

The White House

Location: Niddrie Mains Road

As you travel down Niddrie Mains Road in the direction of Fort Kinnaird, you come across numerous new structures. However, there is one that stands out from the rest. Known as The White House, this dazzling white art deco building from the 1930s appears quite contrasting to its surroundings. Like many unconventional buildings, it possesses an intriguing past.

As a part of a £200 million initiative to revitalize Craigmillar, Park developers renovated the building to its original condition in 2010. This included installing a new roof, windows, doors, and exterior rendering.

The renovated roadhouse now serves as a community café, event hall, and office space that the community can use and rent. It illustrates how a previously endangered building can be successfully converted into a valuable local resource that enhances the surrounding area.

Maybury Casino

Location: Maybury, Edinburgh, EH12 8NE

Maybury Casino building

The Maybury Casino, an architectural masterpiece crafted by Patterson and Broom in 1935, showcases an elegant art deco style. Initially serving as a roadhouse, this remarkable establishment cost £25,000. Over the years, it became a favorite venue for get-togethers and live band performances.

Sadly, by the late eighties, it had fallen into disrepair. In 1987, the casino ceased operations but was fortunately renovated soon after. It reopened as a conference and banqueting establishment, breathing new life into its grand halls.

Stakis Casinos acquired the property in 1997 and has since remained a beloved gambling destination under the name Grosvenor Casino Edinburgh. As one approaches Edinburgh from the airport, the casino’s distinctive entrance tower, reminiscent of a classic American car’s radiator grille, stands out as a prominent city symbol.

The modern-age gambler will always use the latest UK casino bonus offers in 2023 from the comfort of their home. Still, The Maybury Casino is the perfect blast from the past for a social setting of gaming entertainment.

Dominion Cinema

Location: New Battle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH10 4RT

Dominion Cinema Morningside Edinburgh building

Morningside’s beloved cinema, which a local family owns, has always been revered as a stunning example of art deco architecture.

Thomas Bowhill Gibson put his Streamline Moderne style to the test with this building, and its doors opened in 1938, boasting a timeless and stylish aesthetic. Throughout its history, the cinema has temporarily closed on three occasions solely for refurb projects and expansion.

We confidently anticipate that this historically significant cinema, classified as B-listed, will continue attracting moviegoers for many years. Additionally, there are several other noteworthy art deco cinemas in the area.

Southside Garage

Location: Radcliffe Terrace, Edinburgh, EH9 1SX

Southside Garage Edinburgh building

The former Southside Garage in Edinburgh is a remarkable example of art deco architecture, strongly influenced by R. M. Schindler’s Lovell Beach House in Los Angeles.

It was designed by Sir Basil Spence in 1933, but this iconic garage has survived despite no longer serving its original purpose.

Today, it houses a wine emporium while proudly displaying its distinctive red art deco font. The building is now protected by Historic Environment Scotland, listed as a Category B site. Interestingly, the Southern Motor Garage in Sylvain Chomet’s 2010 animated film L’Illusionniste was inspired by the Southside Garage.

Ravelston Garden

Location: Craigcrook Rd, Edinburgh, EH4 3PG

Ravelston Garden art deco in Edinburgh

Ravelston Garden is a prime example of residential art deco in Edinburgh. Crafted by Andrew Neil and Robert Hurd between 1935 and 1936, these spacious four-story apartments exude timeless art deco style and have rightfully earned a Category A listing. Initially known as the ‘Jenners flats’ due to their managing agents, they are truly a testament to the era.

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The Edinburgh Grand – St Andrew Square Development
The Edinburgh Grand
image from developer
The Edinburgh Grand Building

St James Quarter Edinburgh
St James Quarter Edinburgh
image of the development
St James Quarter

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