Newsletter - Links - Advertise - Contact Us - Privacy

Corten steel Edinburgh school ‘mirrors’ tenements

February 15 2019

Corten steel Edinburgh school ‘mirrors’ tenements

Holmes Miller Architects have filed plans for a new Canaan lane Primary School and nursery on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council.

Replacing an existing care home in the Grange Conservation Area the school will stand alongside the retained Deanbank House which will serve as a classroom annexe to the main new build.

Finished in natural sandstone and corten steel to the front with brick to the rear the school seeks to establish an ‘architectural dialogue’ with a red sandstone tenement block opposite.

The architects wrote: “The school’s public entrance is directly across from this tenement and due to its prominence and presence in the street, it was important to establish an architectural dialogue between the two buildings, with the corten steel element a virtual mirror in plan length to the red sandstone tenement.”

Aligned with the street the school seeks to mediate in height between four storey tenements and detached villas, with lost sections of an existing boundary wall reinstated,

A nursery will adjoin the new school
A nursery will adjoin the new school
The school faces off against a red sandstone tenement opposite
The school faces off against a red sandstone tenement opposite


#1 Posted by StyleCouncil on 15 Feb 2019 at 17:27 PM
Looks like a pretty standard and disappointing school design. This time with an overdesigned flourish at the entrance. Corten steel, really?
The familiar self indulgent, bullshit ridden design statement, with appalling grammar and sentence structure, is now also standard.
#2 Posted by MR on 18 Feb 2019 at 08:27 AM
" architectural dialogue between the two buildings, with the corten steel element a virtual mirror in plan length to the red sandstone tenement..."
or in simple english
The width of the new corten clad building is the same as the red sandstone building across the road.
#3 Posted by hmm on 18 Feb 2019 at 09:12 AM
Archi-bollocks (which is rightly lampooned above) aside, I think this looks pretty decent. Well done Holmes Miller.
#4 Posted by B.Fuller on 18 Feb 2019 at 13:13 PM
Ah the intellectual bankruptcy of contemporary architectural imagery. Everyone is happy and of healthy BMI. Everyone walks or cycles instead of driving a 4x4. It is simultaneously the best of spring summer and autumn. Wildlife is prospering instead of facing catastrophic decline. It’s not like architects have any kind of control over interventions within an environment anyway. Let’s just pretend everything is OK and continue to specify Cor-ten steel and EPDM roofing.
#5 Posted by MV on 19 Feb 2019 at 15:14 PM
#4 sounds like someone needs a bit of atmosphere in their life? Cheer up.

I like this. I'm not sure about the cor-ten (is it actually cor-ten – it looks too shiny), but I like the form of the entrance. I really like the louver detail on the windows – it’s a cut above the usual bog standard stuff.
B. Fuller
#6 Posted by B. Fuller on 20 Feb 2019 at 13:22 PM
I have no problem with the form and massing of the proposal (it’s hardly got the contextual sensitivity of a Scarpa, Rossi or Fehn building but who cares…).
To clarify my point, I feel this type of heavily stylised image, so easy on the eye and so easily digested, speaks of a wider tendency in the profession towards shunning reality. This is by no means isolated to this practice, country or era. There are more egregious examples of this, but for some reason this item in particular struck a nerve.
The number one reality architects must face is climate change. This should be the major priority for architects in terms of design and specification, but very few seem to be doing much about it or even taking cognisance of it (hence the Cor-ten and EPDM comments).
Does the creation and consumption of these superficial images reinforce this aversion to reality? Architects have a responsibility to face reality, not just create pretty pictures.

Post your comments


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


Back to February 2019

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