Fraser narrates a personal account of his inspirations in life
May 9 2012BBC Radio series titled Scotland Inspired to explore the status of the arts in Scotland and the artists who have inspired them.
This personal journey saw Fraser single out Victorian town planner Patrick Geddes for his contribution toward shaping Edinburgh. Fraser noted: “He [Geddes] was a botanist by trade and when he came to look at cities he regarded them as ecosystems, not as building blocks.
"Traditionally urbanists think of blocks - you put down a church, you put down housing and that's it finished. It is an extraordinary mistake to think of it like this.
"Geddes thinks of an ecosystem - if a forest gets warmer, some things die and some things grow, things change.”
Fraser named St Columba’s Kirk on Burntisland, Fife, as one of the buildings which has helped inform his own career in architecture, noting that it left him “continually astonished” with its daring marriage of cottage vernacular and tower.
On a personal note Fraser recalled his time spent working with the poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay when constructing parts of Little Sparta, reminiscing: “Ian, to others, seemed a very forbidding figure but he was just a good friend.
"We'd sit round the fire with him of an evening and talk about Schopenhauer and then Dundee United and drinking strong tea.”
Fraser surmised: “What I learnt from Ian and Geddes is that there is no excuse for not being deterministic about those important things in our built environment such as sunshine and an opportunity to meet our friends and neighbours.
"The sooner we learn to be that the more we will build the conservation areas of tomorrow or places for us to live healthy, well-connected, richer lives."
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