Architectural stories on Edinburgh
Edinburgh has on average 124 rainy days a year. So, if you can’t spend time outside, you might as well spend it in the most beautiful interiors of the city. To help you figure out where to go next time the weather foils your plans, here is a selection of the best interiors in Edinburgh open to the public.
With motorways going through the city, different buildings serving as landmarks, or even a different castle, Edinburgh could have been a drastically contrasting city with what it is today. By exploring what the Scottish capital could have been, we can make sense of the cityscape that we know. Alternatives help to explain decisions made and understand our current built heritage. Therefore, it is interesting to examine unbuilt architectural projects.
Here is a selection of the most interesting schemes proposed for Edinburgh.
Every year on Edinburgh Doors Open Days, buildings usually closed to the public open their doors. This is a great opportunity to discover some of Edinburgh’s best architecture. This year on the 28th and 29th of September, over 130 places will be open in the Scottish capital. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the amount of options, so we have put together a selection of tried and tested places to visit.
It’s easy to imagine Edinburgh as just a medieval Old Town alongside a Georgian New Town. But our city was never one to stand still, especially during the inter-war period. Our burgh contains numerous hidden 20th century gems that should be admired. Last month we looked at the brutalist heritage of the 1960s. Today let’s jump a few decades earlier and discover the art Deco style of the 1920s and 30s.
When walking through Edinburgh, it may seem like the city has been set in stone for centuries. But as William Morris wrote, “All continuity in history means is (…) perpetual changes”. Our city is constantly evolving and is currently building numerous exciting new projects, all enriching Edinburgh’s history. Here is a selection of the most promising upcoming designs.
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 large scale urban planning projects 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.
For those architecture lovers who venture outside of Edinburgh, Fife coastal route offers an exciting day out, checking off a potent blend of historical and cutting edge contemporary “starchitecture”.
For nearly half a millennium it lay built over and only rediscovered a century ago. It is usually closed to visitors, but on a special tour organised by Historic Scotland events team the entry was permitted to a group of enthusiasts.