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Scottish Architecture 2009-05-08 16:13:00
As you may have gathered, I'm no longer writing for the Lighthouse, due to their recent problems. However, I'd like to thank everyone who read my articles, and wish you all the best for 2010. In case you're interested, I still contribute to Urban Realm and Leopard magazines, and will hopefully have my own website on line at some point in …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-11-29 03:12:00
Braeloine was the Deeside vision of Manchester merchant banker and politician William Cunliffe-Brooks, whose focus turned north when his daughter married Charles Gordon, Marquis of Huntly.   Brooks, the Member of Parliament for a Cheshire division, thus developed an attachment to Deeside, and between 1888 and 1899 he bought several estates, including Aboyne, Glen Tanar and Ferrar.   Brooks imported a team from …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-11-29 03:12:00
With the ongoing destruction of Western Europe’s industrial base, not only have everyday products bearing household names disappeared; the corporations who made them have vanished – and entire classes of building have been culled.  The paper mill is on the verge of extinction; there is only one cane sugar refinery left in Britain; and the tyre factory is on the brink …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-11-10 18:51:00
Many of the best-known myths originate in Classical Greece.  Prometheus, Midas and Achilles are well known throughout the western world, whereas Scots myths don’t seem to travel well, perhaps because the Laird of Cockpen, or Bruce and the spider, have a certain couthy quality.  By contrast, Greek myths are raw and powerful.  The rawest is the mythical story of Elektra, related …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-09-29 20:42:00
Scotland has 10% of Europe’s coal, according to a recent article in the Guardian, and much of it lies on the banks of the Forth.  The Fife coalfield is one of the richest in Europe, and was first mined by the monks of Culross five hundred years ago.  Hector Boece, the chronicler of medieval Scotland, wrote – “In Fife are won …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-09-29 20:42:00
According to RIBA’s Latest Future Trends Survey, whilst figures show a slight increase in practices’ workload and staffing levels, it was confirmed that only 55% of students were among those hired. This, compared to last year’s figure of 83% is a huge drop conveying how bleak the prospects are for a graduate architecture student this year. Understandably, practices are choosing to keep …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-09-09 16:38:00
Spurred on by Tim Abrahams’ recent comment piece in Blueprint magazine, the gist of which was that architectural criticism is shifting from print media towards the weblog, and in parallel to that, the search for consensus is creating a general atmosphere of nostalgia – this piece attempts to prove otherwise.  This isn’t architectural criticism, nor is it indulgent retrospection about the …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-08-17 11:07:00
In the next few weeks, young monkeys will leave the protective bosom of the troop, and make their way into the jungle.  So far during their sheltered upbringing, they have learned about the world indirectly, and their responses have been carefully conditioned.  They can distinguish “good” from “bad”; they can discern, and they can declaim pastiche … all thanks to the …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-08-11 20:28:00
Well it’s now sunny outside, skirts and shorts are appearing as the standard dress code and everyone is thinking of their summer hols. Yet for us architecture students, these are all signs that the hermit period has begun...   No time for more changes to your design now, it’s all about the production. Fellow students say a temporary farewell to all family, partners and friends …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
Relax, there is little danger that our traditional beverage has supplanted Sangria, the drink beloved by British tourists to Spain. TEA ? Tenerife Espacio de les Artes, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron, which opened last November, is a stunning contemporary art institute, a photography centre and a public library in Santa Cruz, Tenerife?s capital. The island has a …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
Relax, there is little danger that our traditional beverage has supplanted Sangria, the drink beloved by British tourists to Spain. TEA – Tenerife Espacio de les Artes, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron, which opened last November, is a stunning contemporary art institute, a photography centre and a public library in Santa Cruz, Tenerife’s capital. The island has a …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
Natural materials like timber, they warn you, are infinitely variable.  They may contain flaws, adjacent grain patterns may not match, the figuring could be different on each sheet of veneer.  Knots!  Shakes!  Sapwood!  Yet architects are awkward customers, and demand repeatability.  However, if they are too loose with the specification, then someone else will be critical on their behalf.  As soon …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
  St Die des Vosges is a sleepy town in the French region of Lorraine, undistinguished save for a remarkable role in two areas: the development of Modernist design and technological innovation. St Die is the place where, post-war, Corbusier planned eight Unites d’Habitation. Nowadays it is the home to CIRTES*, the cutting edge national research centre for rapid product development. Public …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
Ah, the recession.  If we were all to take a drink every time the word or its many equivalents were mentioned, we’d all be permanently drunk.  Unable to be so blissfully ignorant however we cannot escape the fact that we are now officially in r*#~*@*#n and so along with many other professions, we are faced with the fear of unemployment. Obviously some …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
I fetched up at Stirling on a scorching July afternoon, when the heat had slowed the city’s traffic to a crawl.  Sunshine soaked into the Monaro I was driving at the time, its boot (predicatably) filled with boxes of architecture books, and every surface inside the cabin was hot.  The honey-coloured sandstone of Stirling’s terraces gave off wafts of heated air …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
It’s the battle at the heart of every social science going: the individual against the mass.  The distance between “me” and the rest of the world lies at the very core of the human condition.  Despite the fact that we are social animals, biologically and psychically we're separate and apart from other creatures.  Each of us is essentially alone.  We can’t …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
The studio is traditionally a home away from home for architecture students.  As the week’s progress through the course and more time is spent working, more household goods appear.  As the equilibrium moves from living at home, working at studio, to living at studio, going home merely for supplies, you find that these items are essential.   Currently we …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
We are sliding further into recession – possibly a depression – and it seems the Westminster government is powerless to alter our course.  This is not your average economic setback.  The banking system – one of the main cogs of capitalism – is broken.  HBOS (the former Bank of Scotland) and the Royal Bank of Scotland are in dire financial straits …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-20 05:47:00
People who write things in magazines or the net are always being urged to rail against some injustice or another.  I mostly resist, because it strikes me as wasted effort.  It’s more productive to boost the good than to knock the bad.  Sometimes, though, rising frustration at the decline in architectural quality in Scotland forces you to break this unwritten rule. The …


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Scottish Architecture 2007-07-18 01:57:00
Several years ago, the motoring writer James Ruppert coined a phrase which neatly encapsulates how to own and run a car cheaply and efficiently.  Bangernomics.  Tradition has it that old cars have high running costs: they burn more fuel and oil than they should; they rot; they break down.  However, new cars suffer from savage depreciation.  Either way, cheap motoring appears …


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