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Edinburgh capitalises on New Town ideals

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April 7 2010

Edinburgh capitalises on New Town ideals
Edinburgh is a city which trades on its past to great effect as an historic centre of world renown. But now that past is set to inform the present as Dave Anderson, director of city development at Edinburgh City council seeks to “capture the thinking that went into the New Town,” for a new build urban expansion on the western fringe of the city.

Anderson explained: “We’re asking ourselves, how do you take Edinburgh’s DNA, the walkability, the liveability and elegant design and transplant it so that when people arrive they see something that feels like it’s part of the city.”

This train of thought (spurred along by prohibitive remedial costs on brownfield land) has led the council to propose a mixed use district on greenfield land at Gogar, land once set aside for airport expansion.

City planners are rumoured to have hired 7N Architects to draw up designs for the 200 acre site, which would accommodate an arena, hotels, office blocks, housing and a public square in a bid to attract business to the area.

A financing deal has yet to be struck but Edinburgh City Council are in discussion with landowner and developer New Ingliston with regard to pump priming the site with £30-40m of infrastructure investment, luring potential developers to the site with improved roads, landscaping and utilities in addition to tram access.

Though at an early stage it is thought the plans could progress as early as 2013.

9 Comments

Cynica
#1 Posted by Cynica on 7 Apr 2010 at 15:06 PM
How do you take Edinburgh's DNA and transplant it? Possibly you hire architects for the site who have a track record of beautiful, award winning buildings, some of them in Edinburgh? However, look at 'Waterfront', and the mess that is, look at the glassy tat that now surrounds the St James's Centre, look at so much Edinburgh Council has passed in the City, and don't hold out any hope of Edinburgh Council getting it right here either.
James Craig
#2 Posted by James Craig on 7 Apr 2010 at 15:29 PM
Why does Edinburgh Council not then hold an open competition, to see who can come up with the best plan? Has it indeed hired an architect already? Has there been a tendering process for the work?
Ritch Sox
#3 Posted by Ritch Sox on 7 Apr 2010 at 15:38 PM
Why not hold an open competition and see what comes up.We did well out of someone with no track record in 1766. Granted, there were only 6 entries.
John Glenday
#4 Posted by John Glenday on 7 Apr 2010 at 16:35 PM
To clarify 7N Architects have been appointed in a consultancy role to assist the council in the development of the design framework for the site.

I believe this appointment was made after a competitive process involving an invited list of four practices.
James Craig
#5 Posted by James Craig on 7 Apr 2010 at 16:41 PM
'An invited list'. Worrying.
Ritch Sox
#6 Posted by Ritch Sox on 7 Apr 2010 at 16:57 PM
Good luck to 7N, they're rellatively young. But that image looks like it has the DNA of Edinburgh Park, more Leon Krier than James Craig.
Iain
#7 Posted by Iain on 8 Apr 2010 at 10:38 AM
'Prohibitive remedial costs'

So ECC just want to develop greenfield land to produce another potential site with prohibitive remedial costs for a future ECC? Where are the principles of sustainable development here?
Johnny the Musician
#8 Posted by Johnny the Musician on 8 Apr 2010 at 11:14 AM
Good approach taking the best that Edinburgh offers. Something that worked in the past can be adapted today, including process - I am very curious.

Fully agree, it would be reasonable to kick off a competition for architects, especially young who may bring fresh breeze to the cityscape, perhaps a challenge for those who feel safely 'rooted'. 'An invited list' means a key to invitation, which could be anything - cost, experience etc. 7N Architects might propose something good as we can't say much about one image and few comments of Mr Anderson. He mentioned city's DNA, great, but how planners and architects are going to handle and express this? I am sure that everyone has different interpretation. It is something that I anticipated in the Leith Docks Regeneration as the Modern Town, continuity of an architectural evolution in the city rewarded by the World Heritage Site status and world-wide recognition.
Jo.T
#9 Posted by Jo.T on 9 Apr 2010 at 08:49 AM
#6 The 7N "flowers" at Cowcaddens in Glasgow are very clever I think but this looks mundane.

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