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Controversial St Andrew Square re-build plan surfaces

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June 6 2013

Controversial St Andrew Square re-build plan surfaces
Controversial plans to re-build the façade of a modernist office block at 6/7 St Andrew Square, regarded as one of the most important post war buildings in Scotland, have been submitted to Edinburgh City Council.

In a listed building consent application developer Stockland proposes to reconfigure the B listed office building, after re-assessing a scheme previously drawn up by Gareth Hoskins Architects and CDA, citing changed market conditions for the rethink.

Whilst acknowledging the need to retain the sculptural elevation of this façade the developers cite agent feedback indicating that the previously consented scheme lacked the contiguous floorplates required by occupiers due to discrepancies in levels between existing and new build elements.

To remedy this CDA have rejigged the existing scheme to reconfigure office floors in the retained portion so that they are now level to attract tenants.

More contentiously elements of the sculptural façade will also be removed, albeit rebuilt, as the developer states the façade alone cannot be retained for structural reasons.

As such it is now proposed to dismantle the property down to ground floor level, with Italian granite cladding panels re-used in the rebuild. Importantly however this will incorporate elements of both new structure and finishes.

Euan Leitch, assistant director of the Cockburn Association described the plans as a 'conservation travesty', saying: "The neighbouring listed Italianate facades have consent for demolition precisely because of they have been reduced to facades and so even if the Scot Prov front was rebuilt in 20yrs it could be similarly lost.  I don’t think the Council or Historic Scotland has covered themselves in roses here. 

"The building is not a winner with the public (as I frequently learn) but this approach is a conservation travesty."
It is proposed to proceed with the planned Gareth Hoskins penned new build element - subject to a pre-let.
It is proposed to proceed with the planned Gareth Hoskins penned new build element - subject to a pre-let.
The current mishmash of styles and eras on St Andrew Square is held up as something to be valued
The current mishmash of styles and eras on St Andrew Square is held up as something to be valued

There are concerns that the compromised nature of the rebuilt facade would render it vulnerable to future redevelopment
There are concerns that the compromised nature of the rebuilt facade would render it vulnerable to future redevelopment

4 Comments

Big Chantelle
#1 Posted by Big Chantelle on 6 Jun 2013 at 22:35 PM
It's an ugly building not fit for Edinburgh. But the modernist anti-traditional architecture brigade love these brutalist monstrosities so they get to rape our beautiful cityscapes with their awful idea of architecture.

The public hates the building but what do they know -- they never graduated from Motherwell polytechnic with a degree in concrete block sculpture aka modernism.

Build a new building with classical stylings to embrace the city scape a la Dresden in Germany. Wait, that's a sensible idea.............
Neil
#2 Posted by Neil on 7 Jun 2013 at 17:04 PM
Yaawwwwn............look we geddit BC.
All things new, bad. All things old, good.
Egbert
#3 Posted by Egbert on 7 Jun 2013 at 18:44 PM
On the contrary Big Chantelle, it's possibly the only one of Edinburgh's 1960's modernist buildings to successfully integrate with its city context. It's distinctive, characterful and well-built in granite and glass with nary a speck of concrete in sight. Most non-architects I know like it.

But that's pretty irrelevant to this story - what's proposed here is a complete loss of integrity for one of the city's best modern buildings. Facade retention is in itself pretty dubious from a conservation standpoint, including for the reasons Cockburn cite above, but here it's just completely inappropriate - there's no way a building as three-dimensional and tectonically modelled as this can be reduced to a two-dimensional facade without compromising its entire character and rationale. Edinburgh Council need to knock this one straight back.
Cat Flap
#4 Posted by Cat Flap on 8 Jun 2013 at 20:27 PM
Big Chantelle
Did you get bullied at architecture school or something? Short of the word Carbunkle you're getting right on my Charlie Windsors!
And what have you got against Motherwell?

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