Friday, 23 January 2009

Local comment on fire site and pensions

The Cowgate site which was cleared after the much publicised fire five years ago has now received planning permission for a replacement development.  The full planning committee supported the proposals earlier this week and this article gives more details including a brief quote from me.  'Angular and boxish. . . ' may not be a description which slips off the tongue - but it describes the outline of part of the proposal.  I welcome many modern forms of architecture but what seems to be a growing tendency to celebrate square and rectangular shapes just does not look right - especially in an historic context.  Some of the Waterfront buildings which have been built in recent years exibit a penchant for geometric designs which  jar with the senses.   In the case of the Cowgate, the proposals were passed as a whole but certain matters were reserved for further consideration.
Also this week the local paper was kind enough to quote my comments on current pensions issues.


LRozelle said...


I think it looks ok. Nothing special. I thought when you said boxy or angular you might have meant something like the new port authority building in Antwerp by Zaha Hadid. (

Sadly in Edinburgh we're neither at the forefront of architecture nor at the rear. This means we never get anything revolutionary but we are also in with the pack so we never have time to learn lessons from the mistakes of the real boundary-pushers. Doomed either way.

Speaking of architecture: For a laugh find a postcard of the Scottish Parliament. They're usually taken on one of the few sunny days and from the right angle the building looks like a hotel from Majorca or Lanzagrotty. The little pools at the from look like swimming pools and the only thing missing is sun-loungers.

Anonymous said...

Isn't much of the celebrated historic architecture of Edinburgh based on boxy and angular shapes?

Or has classicism passed by C Rose?

It's unfortunate that people without a great deal of idea of architecture, and how it fits in the historic context, are those charged with plan passing.

CR said...

Hi anonymous,

Forgive me if I misled you with my choice of the word angular. It doesn't fully convey the idea on its own. But I did use it alongside boxy - which was intended to enrich its meaning! The difference between classical and the part of the development I was alluding to is that classical is always adorned - with plenty to break (or contrast with) the rectangular flat surfaces and shapes.

Thanks for being in touch and coming to my newsblog.

Hannan Aslam said...

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