Newsletter - Links - Advertise - Contact Us - Cookies
 

Gareth Hoskins details Royal High School vision

Bookmark and Share | Send to friend

February 9 2015

Gareth Hoskins details Royal High School vision
Gareth Hoskins Architects and Duddingston House Properties have laid out theirvision for the A-listed Royal High School, a crumbling landmark which has lain derelict in the heart of Edinburgh for the better part of 50 years.

Appointed to the project five years ago the Calton Hill landmark has suffered significant water ingress this winter after thieves broke in and ripped lead sheeting from the front colonnade, allowing water to penetrate deep into the structure of the main facade.

This decline prompted the appointment of Andrew Wright as conservation architect six months ago to look at the heritage side of the development, a role which will see Thomas Hamilton’s Royal high School restored for use as a hotel reception space, restaurant, lounges and bar - together with new access points from Calton Hill and Regent Road.

Fortunately the team are in possession of Hamilton’s original drawings courtesy of RCAHMS, material which read together with contemporary surveys, will allow the 70s chic interior to be stripped out in favour of something more befitting of the original vision… although the Star Trek style speakers chair survive in some form if the wishes of some visitors is listened to.

Extensively modelled from key viewpoints around the city Gareth Hoskins Architects approach is to place Hamilton’s building at the core of a symmetrical ensemble set against Calton Hill. This will necessitate demolition of a number of ancillary buildings, judged to be of detrimental impact on the main building and so allowing two flanking pavilions to be erected to house the necessary bedroom space.

A formal planning submission is expected to be made in March.
Bodged acid cleaning of a portion of the main facade has drawn iron out of the stonework, leaving conservationists at a loss as to how to remedy the situation
Bodged acid cleaning of a portion of the main facade has drawn iron out of the stonework, leaving conservationists at a loss as to how to remedy the situation
Other architects were sceptical that permission could be obtained for the scheme in its present form but in the meantime the magnitude of remedial works grows ever more acute
Other architects were sceptical that permission could be obtained for the scheme in its present form but in the meantime the magnitude of remedial works grows ever more acute

The grandeur of the main facade contrasts with a cluster of functional annexes of varying vintages
The grandeur of the main facade contrasts with a cluster of functional annexes of varying vintages
This blocked up doorway, used for graduation ceremonies during the buildings use as a school, would be opened up
This blocked up doorway, used for graduation ceremonies during the buildings use as a school, would be opened up

11 Comments

Euan
#1 Posted by Euan on 9 Feb 2015 at 20:15 PM
They've been working on one of Scotland's most important neoclassical buildings for 4 years and only brought in a conservation specialist 6 months ago?
Big Chantelle
#2 Posted by Big Chantelle on 10 Feb 2015 at 11:14 AM
@euan #1

"They've been working on one of Scotland's most important neoclassical buildings for 4 years and only brought in a conservation specialist 6 months ago?"

What do you expect of the concrete lovin' modernist brigade? They have utter contempt for anything classical in nature due tot he fact that they could never design such beauty thus make their 'architecture' dumbed down and lacking in integrity.

Why not get an architectect who deisgn in a classical style to adapt the building? That way, the new parts will marry with the old.

Oh, I forgot, that's pastiche. We mustn't strive for beauty or architectural integrity. We best have an "unapologetically contemporary" extension even though noone or no enitity has agreed what constitutes this "contemporary" aesthetic all these lefty-modernist architects bang an about.They've just told us little people what they create is the style for now. Nothing to justify it. It just is. But anything that borrows from the past is 'backward'.

Nice one Edinburgh. Ruin a stunning building. Whilst you're at it, why not open a KFC in Edinburgh castle -- that'll sure be "unapologetically contemporary" aswell.

When will the destruction of our built environment by poorly skilled architects stop?
Steveie Steve
#3 Posted by Steveie Steve on 10 Feb 2015 at 13:12 PM
Nah it needs a clean contemporary adaptation. Restoring where appropriate. No pastiche please! The new openings look a bit badly cut into the principle facade. Is there nowhere better to put them or tie into one of the stone courses better?

Anyway, Nobody wants a hotel. Keep it a public building. The council should pay for fabric repairs now and let a proposal develop late/over time. Is it not against the law to let an A-Listed building ruin?
kevin toner
#4 Posted by kevin toner on 10 Feb 2015 at 13:14 PM
Would you let the architectural fraternity have a Ritz in the Park Guell no matter how prestigious; or even debate it like this Edinburgh episode is about to be?
Art Vandelay
#5 Posted by Art Vandelay on 10 Feb 2015 at 13:25 PM
Oh come on BC. You're not even trying now. I shouldn't rise to it, but ok, I'll bite...

A few glaring plot holes from your wounded diatribe:

- You cite a 'contemporary' aesthetic - although all I'm seeing is photos of the existing building? Bit hard to critique something that isn't even there...

- 'Utter contempt of anything classical' - again, the proposals seem anything but. Given the state of the building, surely trying to come up with a solution that preserves it is anything but contemptuous?

- 'An architect who designs in a classical style' - aye, let's get Robert Adam or Quinlan Terry signed up, that's what Edinburgh needs.

You're really pretty binary in your opinions, aren't you?
Aunie Nairn
#6 Posted by Aunie Nairn on 10 Feb 2015 at 13:36 PM
Art - I think you give BC too much credit - binary seems like one position too many.

As you say, you shouldn't rise, but sometimes you think "What the hell?"

The question does have to be asked - If not Architects, who else will you trust the built environment to? I'm sure Gareth Hoskins will create something really interesting.
Big Chantelle
#7 Posted by Big Chantelle on 10 Feb 2015 at 13:59 PM
@Art Vandelay

Nope. No potholes in my argument. Images have been released showing the possible extensions. I never claimed those images were on Urban Realm. Do a wee google search. They're on the internetz.

Looks you assumed to know more than me about my view. And failed.

You said "surely trying to come up with a solution that preserves it is anything but contemptuous?"

Preserve and restore the building and develop it in a way that doesn't destroy its beauty e.g don't add on two big aircraft hangers onto the structures. Google to see some of the ideas floating around. No doubt you'll love them. Especially if they have render and zinc cladding.

You also wrote: "'An architect who designs in a classical style' - aye, let's get Robert Adam or Quinlan Terry signed up, that's what Edinburgh needs."

Splendid idea. Any reason why these people shouldn't develop this building since this building -- neo classicisim -- is a style of architecture that they, erm, produce for a living? Why should Gareth Hoskins get to design and adapt the extension of a building which is stylistically different to what he designs of his own accord? We have architects capable of sympathetically developing this building because they are trained to understand neo-classical architecture. But of course, to use those people is 'backwards'.In other news, Harry Styles from One Direction has been appointed to sing 'Nessun Dorma' as a Pavarotti tribute..............

It never ceases to amaze me how insecure you lefty architecture types are. You call things pastiche, backwards, not forward looking etc etc and what you're really saying is how everything must match the predetermined style of whatever lefty cool dude is laying down the law.You're so concerned with being seen to be cool and edgy......at the expense of doing what is right. Because these lefty intellectualls have said that this style of architecture is 'old' it means that we should never again design, right now, in a style like it. Thus, we end up with glaring, and jarring buildings which require all these archy-babble to justify them. "contrast", "old meets new" yadda yadda yadda.
Art Vandelay
#8 Posted by Art Vandelay on 10 Feb 2015 at 14:21 PM
So these lefty cool dudes tellings us all to design concrete buildings...are they any different from an angry classicist demanding Doric columns everywhere?

Aye, nae bother.
Stephen
#9 Posted by Stephen on 10 Feb 2015 at 19:52 PM
I think the Greek Revival can take a robust addition (not even sure I like the original that much! - although that's probably heresy...). It's hardly a delicate Renaissance masterpiece. Not sure about the big lumps to each side that Gareth (or rather 'the market') is proposing though. Too big in my view. I also think the new additions have to respond to a late neo-classical context, even though not devaluing it through direct copy. Too much current architecture doesn't respond to the specifics of a place, but there's plenty of rich built context here to pick on. Hoskins has the benefit of my doubt though for the time being. It's not even gone in for planning yet! Bit early to start going crazy about how bad it might be.
Methilated Spirits
#10 Posted by Methilated Spirits on 12 Feb 2015 at 15:43 PM
It's scandalous that this fabulous building has been left to rot for so long; however present plans, especially the extensions, sound a bit worrying - can a use be found for it that doesn't involve mean, modernist-style extensions? Of course, we may soon be forced to confront a similar problem with the Register House - a building which looks like a public building and which should remain so.
Citizen Sane
#11 Posted by Citizen Sane on 2 Apr 2015 at 11:02 AM
The fundamental issues are NOT stylistic.
1. Ownership
Public ownership of this magnificent monument to the Scottish Enlightenment must retained in perpetuity. Edinburgh Council have a cash-flow crisis. Panic-stricken they are asset-stripping to plug the debt hole.
2. World Heritage Status
The council has a duty to protect and enhance the unique built environment of the city. UNESCO has threatened to withdraw that designation before. This proposal suggests that the philistines are still in charge. The fundamental issues are NOT stylistic.
1. Ownership
Public ownership of this magnificent monument to Scottish Enlightenment thinking must be maintained in perpetuity. Edinburgh Council have a cash-flow crisis and are asset-stripping to plug the debt hole.
2. World Heritage Status
The council has a duty to protect and enhance the unique built environment of the city. UNESCO has threatened to withdraw that designation before and a move of this order further undermines this status. Furthermore, the council is breaking the law by allowing the deterioration of a Grade 1 Listed Monument.
3. Use
The conversion of this hugely significant building (architecturally, culturally and historically) into a hotel would be a travesty. Why not do this to Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal, Edinburgh Castle ??
Far better to restore this magnificent edifice to its former glory and re-open it as a publically-owned photography gallery / museum of The Enlightenment / museum of education

Post your comments

 

All comments are pre-moderated and
must obey our house rules.

 

Back to February 2015

Search News
Subscribe to Urban Realm Magazine
Features & Reports
For more information from the industry visit our Features & Reports section.