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Councillors set to sanction Scottish Provident demolition plan

August 14 2013

Councillors set to sanction Scottish Provident demolition plan
Edinburgh councillors are expected to approve demolition of the B listed Scottish Provident building on St Andrew Square today after concluding that dismantling and reconstructing its façade does not constitute demolition.

The controversial proposal would see the façade of the Rowand Anderson Kinimouth & Paul designed offices dismantled and rebuilt in front of a new build office block behind which has been drawn up by Gareth Hoskins and CDA.

Criticising the planned work Malcolm Fraser said: “Our heritage is our wealth; but it also, under some dumb economic models, stands in the way of our ‘economic development’.

“The proposal is to take the whole building down …and then glue a few bits of the old frontage back onto a new building, to provide a façade that looks a bit like the old.  Aside from the fact that such scrapbook-façadism is universally derided, trashing and traducing our heritage for no benefit, the proposal clearly is, in the technical sense, ‘demolition’, as Historic Scotland – the Council’s principal advisors here – have clearly stated to them.”

If, as expected, the plan is approved Stockland intend to commence work before the year is out for completion by late 2015.


#1 Posted by Rossco on 14 Aug 2013 at 13:33 PM
I don’t often agree with Malcolm Fraser but I must say this is a dogs breakfast. How the building could still be listed after this work remains to be seen but whats the point in this fad of retaining facades. If the design of the building is not suitable be true to it and get it down, don’t toy around with it. It destroys the very character you are trying to retain or recreate. Just doesn’t make sense.
#2 Posted by Egbert on 14 Aug 2013 at 14:45 PM
Agree with Rossco - the Rowand Anderson building is such an overwhelmingly three-dimensional construct (essentially a series of stacked extruded horizontal 'trays' alongside 'solid' vertical service elements, with strongly modelled protrusions and recesses) that reducing it to a stick-on facade would render it utterly meaningless. It's hard to imagine how either the retained skin or the new-build behind could glean any integrity from this. Travesty is the word.
#3 Posted by wonky on 14 Aug 2013 at 17:40 PM
I have only a superficial familiarity with building but what I do remember about it was its playful lightness and generously creative use of glass to juxtapose the concrete fabric- its a building with genuine character and a certain amount of panache. Do these barbarians at our gates have any respect for the integrity of listed status? I also remember the building having little protection despite its listed status, with the windows often covered up.
At least Big Chantelle will be smugly riding his anti-modernist hobby horse as he stuffs mars bars into his mouth with those fat stubby hairy he reads this article.
#4 Posted by Euan on 15 Aug 2013 at 11:58 AM
Historic Scotland have stated that if this proposal is successful they would de-list the building. At the planning committee yesterday the decision was continued at the Councillors insisted that the applicant must provide information to meet the criteria for the demolition of a listed building detailed in the Scottish Historic Environment Policy. Merely a stay of execution?
urban animation
#5 Posted by urban animation on 15 Aug 2013 at 13:29 PM
The building is said to be unletable in its present form and therefore must be demolished. Seems to me it is unletable to the kind of tenant the owners want to attract and at the value they seek, based upon what they paid for it speculatively and their expectations of profit. The building is not unletable, it just doesn't suit the owner to let it at lower cost to prospective tenants. This seems to be market failure caused by owner expectation, rather than lack of potential tenants.
listed schmisted
#6 Posted by listed schmisted on 15 Aug 2013 at 13:53 PM
maybe they should just wall it off, build the office around it and let it sit there rotting away for the next shmuck to deal with like the glasgow odeon??
#7 Posted by wonky on 15 Aug 2013 at 19:25 PM
Don't know whit your problem is pal but listed status is there for a VERY good reason- by the way, do you know the Odeon is on course for full refurb with the horrible brick back monolith gone and the deco frontage preserved for posterity?
Hence the advantage of listed status if we both want to recognize and preserve our architectural heritage.
#8 Posted by Euan on 16 Aug 2013 at 11:42 AM
I rather liked the brick backside of the Glasgow Odeon...
#9 Posted by listed on 16 Aug 2013 at 14:14 PM
Wonky, is it though? it's getting walled off, with a new office plonked behind it, the art deco bit is not getting touched, and now might never be.. at least in this case the edinburgh prohect is being undertaken as a whole.

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