The Greenside Place development by Allan Murray Architects is bringing life to a neglected corner of the capital (see page 13)

The scaffolding is up, the hard-hats are on, the JCBs are standing by. So what’s all this‘new building going to look like and will it be any good?

Words: Adrian Welch (Edinburgh) and Caroline Ednie (Glasgow)


Ocean Terminal

il/Ias'terplan Architects (lea/2 Docks): Conran & Partners

Architects ( ()( 'ean Terminal): Conran & Partners .' K apple A rc/zilec'ts Please Terry. can we have some better buildings? _ Leith Docks: a huge “I ' money-making-machine or an-area attaining maxrmum architectural potential? I think the former. Mostly owned by Forth Potts plc (project director: Terry Smith) the Docks form one huge building site. But just look at Tower Street flats (near the top in the recent Carbuncle Awards). the toy town shed of

' Scot FM. and. the cherry on the top. the Holiday Inn with its

applique half-lemon fanlight. These turgid buildings drag the area down. but at least are unseen from afar.

Step forward the Ocean Terminal. This hulk of a building sticks out like a beached whale from Arthur‘s Seat; so huge that it is set to increase Edinburgh‘s retail area by 25%. It is a bizarre building. Why‘.’ Well firstly it adopts the monolithic form of the Scottish Executive. rather than a more contextual (don‘t even attempt to explain it away with reference to Patterson’s warehouses) ‘broken down‘ approach. Not content with this brutish but efficient form. the building turns to line the Quay and jars with the other beached liner berthed at Victoria Quay. Secondly it greets its guests with a multi-storey car park which forms symmetrical bookends. Thirdly, the rotunda. which aimed to be a crowning beacon. is now a lost stump. cowering behind various bits of roofscape.

Finally. and most wonyingly. the Terminal turns its back on the waterscape. Views to Fife there may be, but access to the dockside is forbidden unless you drive an articulated truck. Partly due to security for the Britannia (which will be moved with its exhibition to a berth in front of the Terminal), it’s not hard to imagine a better solution. Yet another sad example of Edinburgh neglecting its boundary with the sea.

Jeffrey Street Project

T '- w;- Arclzitects: Allan Murray

I Architects

So little a site. so great a debate. At around 1/8 of an acre. this empty central site is minuscule compared to the New Street Bus Station Mr ~ scheme. but has provoked )netheless.

The architecture is certainly considered. but blocks the cherished view of Calton Hill from much of Jeffrey Street and St Mary‘s Street; it has even spawned a website campaigning to ‘save the view’. Public opinion .has swung towards contemporary design. yet every building'truly of its time has to be dragged kicking and screaming to fruition here in Edinburgh. Buildings such as the New Museum of Scotland are vehemently opposed at inception. only to be applauded by the same people after their novelty has wom off.

I would therefore be a natural supporter of this scheme. with its refreshingly asymmetric. curvaceous form and dual public stairs threading through (see the model at l Cockbum Street and picture page l2). but after much walking around the site. I see the passing away of the view as regrettable. The

6—20 Sept 2001 THE LIST 1 1