Architectural stories on Edinburgh
Brutalism is an easy movement to hate on aesthetic grounds. Its bare concrete buildings can stand out in a uniform sandstone city like Edinburgh. The lack of decoration on its block-like structure has fallen out of fashion since the 1970s. Prince Charles even famously qualified a brutalist proposal as a “monstrous carbuncle”. But in order to fully appreciate and understand the style, it is important to understand the moral and historical implication of such movement. Edinburgh has a great legacy of brutalist architecture, offering us a wide range of examples, such as social housing blocks, university buildings or office constructions.
Standardisation was used as a tool against the threat of fire. However, this method was not completely successful in stopping fires in the old town. Disastrous fires in Edinburgh prompted for large scale urban planning in the Old Town, which allowed for wider, cleaner, uniform streets.
In Part 2 of the series I look at how, after centuries of frequent and repetitive burnings, the city of
Edinburgh started to use its architecture to prevent and reduce fires. Control through laws and regulations was used as a means of prevention.