Editorial July 2002

Edinburgh News Archive

Property in Edinburgh & Lothian, Scotland – Resource

Editorial: July 2002

Edinburgh News July 2002 Editorial

Last month saw the unveiling of the Virtual Architecture Centre: this is a major new site and clearly aimed at the general public. The Summer 2000 RIAS Festival Exhibition that I curated and worked on with Murray Grigor was also aimed at the wider public. It too was criticised for being ‘dumbed down’ but brought architecture alive for many.

A doctor told me it was the first architecture exhibition she had visited that she had understood, with compact texts and images and refreshing comments. The VAC is also reductive and features few plans but should make a great starting point for architecture searches. Anyone who wants to dig deeper has an excellent range of linked websites to choose from.

The launch of glasgowarchitecture.co.uk has also taken place and will be officially launched in August, complete with Tours. These will be arranged non-geographically in a move away from the Pevsner-like perambulation that I was never fully comfortable with.


Waverely Car Park
BDP’s plans for the eight-storey New Town CEC, partly underground are submitted for Planning Permission and are reported to be near to conclusion. They have been slated by most of the conservation and amenity bodies, and also by RFACS and Manifesto.

C&A: Whilst the controversy ensues re the organised fly-posting, few seem to have realised that this submission has been reported to have gone to the First Minister despite having received planning permission: no news as yet. The Cockburn and AHSS considered the building to be too high. A contemporary building on Princes Street is exciting and of course the quality has to be there. The architects – 3D Architects – are not reissuing images of the former C&A building, H&M Edinburgh – Princes Street H&M Store, currently.

Leith: The announcement of proposals by Forth Ports for Scotland’s tallest towers and the possibility of an Edinburgh Guggenheim down in the docks is old news: the Terry Farrell & Partners tower image has been published months ago as was the story about the Guggenheim advances. Nevertheless, these news items would transform our city and are to be watched closely: see the news for w/e June 30th (archived).

GPO: At long last the builders move in to this former Edinburgh Post Office: the decay over the years of this great Italianate building is a disgrace and an embarrassment.

RBS, Gogarbank: Initial designs for the RBS Headquarters project look hopeful but a review of the government PPG for the green belt in this area bordering Edinburgh Park is due within the next month.

Granton Waterfront: Official news has dried up from this development save announcements about selection of developers. Numerous architects are already undertaking designs for projects here within various masterplan groups of architects and developers/housebuilders: submissions are understood to be under evaluation.

East Lothian:
Proposed development sites in Drem, Dirleton and Aberlady visited. Drem’s recent development by Hamilton Homes is unimaginatively traditional like that proposed for Haddington Maltings and Dirleton Glebe: insufficient landscaping (no trees?!) gives a harsh impression across the fields, totally unlike the leafy nature of Drem’s older buildings. Prime locations should mean decent profits so why not demand more, eg. mature planting?

At least Dirleton’s eight-house New Manse scheme (land owned by Church of Scotland Trustees) is largely hidden behind mature trees, but the standard Cala Homes (upmarket or not) are pitiful additions to such a superb village: developers should be teaming up with quality architects to create unique solutions with unique designs. We need developers like Buredi out in the sticks! The objectors don’t dispute that the site can be developed for housing [as zoned], they just question the style and height. The East Lothian District Council development brief from 1988 maintains that the development “should be one of quality”: well how is that gauged?

The rise in total hits for the last three months has been sustained – again topping the previous total – and the site was added to Dundee University School of Architecture’s and Dresden Architecture, etc., but more importantly shot up the rankings on really major sites. Major developments include:-

1. being asked to do the Contemporary Architecture Tour for Scotland’s Virtual Architecture Centre through The Lighthouse.
2. the creation of glasgowarchitecture.co.uk has commenced and the homepage will go online soon.

Major editions to the site recently include ‘Lismhor’, Edinburgh and ‘The Rink’, Gifford at /modern. The RIAS Convention in Inverness was attended and reviews produced. The /unbuilt section needs more projects and I will be writing to certain architects soon. The /events section now carries lectures for all three University Schools of Architecture as well as plenty of SPAB and Cockburn Association events.

The site was submitted for the Scottish Enterprise Winners@the Web competition: no results as yet.

I receive so much correspondence – ALL images should now go to mail(at)edinburgharchitecture.co.uk, details at the top of the news page – but can’t publish any unless marked ‘for publication’: letters most welcome.

Scottish Capital Building Designs

Contemporary Scottish Capital Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

Edinburgh House


Scottish Parliament

Missoni Hotel Edinburgh

New Town Harvey Nichols

Comments / photos for the Edinburgh Architecture Editorial page welcome