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Allan Murray Architects submit detailed St James Square designs

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January 6 2015

Allan Murray Architects submit detailed St James Square designs
TIAA Henderson Real Estate has submitted detailed plans for a ‘dense, diverse and delightful’ redevelopment of Edinburgh’s St James Centre, further fleshing out its outline proposals from 2009.

Prepared by Allan Murray Architects, with BDP as executive architect and Purcell as heritage architect, the application aims to create a new chunk of city on the site of Ian Burke and Hugh Martin’s 1973 monolith.

This will be demolished in its entirety save for the listed St Andrews Hall and James Craig Walk allowing excavation of an additional three basement levels with new build above centred on a glazed ‘galleria’ and a signature hotel subject to an architectural design competition, the results of which will be revealed shortly.

Primary facades will be faced with stone panels with precast concrete employed for secondary elevations, above these will sit a zinc attic roof level.

In their design statement Allan Murray said: “The introduction of the curved Galleria reconciles the irregularly shaped urban block of the St James Quarter with the regular urban blocks and axial ground plan of the First New Town. The continuous arc flows round from Multrees Walk to a new space adjacent to Register House, Register Square, establishes a highly appropriate geometric solution.”
An existing tenement at James Craig Walk will be retained
An existing tenement at James Craig Walk will be retained
Improvements to Leith Street will see the street newly enclosed and the removal of a central reservation
Improvements to Leith Street will see the street newly enclosed and the removal of a central reservation

New buildings will rise along Elder Street
New buildings will rise along Elder Street
The new look Cathedral Square on Little King Street
The new look Cathedral Square on Little King Street

12 Comments

Stevie Steve
#1 Posted by Stevie Steve on 6 Jan 2015 at 13:26 PM
soo much sandstone...
Neil C
#2 Posted by Neil C on 6 Jan 2015 at 14:58 PM
and used like wallpaper
Charlie_
#3 Posted by Charlie_ on 7 Jan 2015 at 07:01 AM
That looks very poor.
Egbert
#4 Posted by Egbert on 7 Jan 2015 at 08:32 AM
It's still basically just a shopping centre megastructure, even if there are some flats chucked on top and a 'signature hotel' (God help us) in the middle. Surely some sort of civic function is needed if this is to become a real 'chunk of city' rather than a set of single-ownership malls without walls.
Egbert
#5 Posted by Egbert on 7 Jan 2015 at 08:37 AM
Also - leaving aside the merits of wall-to-wall sandstone cladding, retail gallerias and irregular fenestration, is it really a good thing to have an entire 'chunk of city' designed by one architect (who happens to have also been responsible for every single development in the immediate vicinity over the last 15 years)?
RemK
#6 Posted by RemK on 7 Jan 2015 at 11:03 AM
First image is terrifying.

Have a quick read of Junkspace Mr Murray.
dalrylama
#7 Posted by dalrylama on 7 Jan 2015 at 11:20 AM
sandstone - like the entirety of the new town give or take a few anomalies....it's heavy use makes a lot of sense to me.

I like it - and I'm looking forward to this going ahead.
Shabbadoo
#8 Posted by Shabbadoo on 7 Jan 2015 at 12:30 PM
I'm sure the merits of how the facade is/should be articulated, materialised and arranged will be the subject of much debate.
However I must say the overall principle of how the building respond/connects with the surrounding streets and context is really well thought out. AMA are good at that game.
I will also be looking forward to this happening. Plus the existing building needs to go now!
Cadmonkey
#9 Posted by Cadmonkey on 8 Jan 2015 at 09:24 AM
I tend to agree with Shabbadoo. Most of this looks fine, but the first image to Princes Street looks a bit odd. The mall canopy looks a bit ill considered at this stage. Large quantity of stone is fine (not convinced by the horizontal grey stuff though). Would like to have seen some images looking up from Leith Walk though. Perhaps that is where the shear scale of this will be revealed.
Rem-Job
#10 Posted by Rem-Job on 8 Jan 2015 at 09:40 AM
Is this a copy and paste exercise of multrees walk? Maybe the concept is 'get a vivienne westwood store to edinburgh'?
I like it...............
Sven
#11 Posted by Sven on 12 Jan 2015 at 20:14 PM
I really like that Leith Street has been reinstated. I agree with the others that pic 1 needs a lot of work to make it great. Is this a copy and paste of Multrees Walk, yes, but apart from the lack of sun light, Multrees Walk probably Edinburgh's most successful streets visually and commercially.
T.H.Ford
#12 Posted by T.H.Ford on 14 Jan 2015 at 00:02 AM
Use of sympathic material - fair. (Ability to weather Scottish weather over time - ????) Arrangement of buildings, okay (better than existing). Overall architectural facade articulation of buildings - poor.

What Edinburgh needs after the Giant Grey Carbuncle (that is the current edifice), is a design that is somewhat more sensitively designed, not something that looks like other new malls. (I swear I have seen something it before in Cambridge and in other cities.) The design is blocky, and against the the Register house and Waterloo Place, it looks shallow, out of keeping and above all bland.

If you want to make the buildings to be strong, then the compliment the existing buildings with a design that invokes them. The proposed building's, aside from a few artistic indentations and extrusions and a bit of steelwork thrown in, seem to have no point other than to randomly break the line of the building, has nothing going for it. Also in terms of environmental aim I wrong in thinking that with the open malls, the design will be them to narrow wind tunnels?

Has architectural in public spaces become so scared of doing Architectural design? Is using boxy design the height of Scottish Architectural Design?

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