In the news, w/e November 17

A MODERN take on the traditional Scottish tenement block has won the main prize at awards celebrating housing design in Scotland.

Simon Square (pictured), in Edinburgh – by Fraser/Livingstone Architects, for Seven Hills Investments – has been awarded the Saltire Medal by the Saltire Society at its annual housing design awards.

Meanwhile, the winners of four category prizes (as noted here) were as follows:

  • Multiple public dwelling categorywinner: North Gate, Gorbals, Glasgow, by Page \ Parks Architects, for New Gorbals Housing Association; commended: Kilsyth Road, Kirkintilloch, by Page\Park Architects, for Link Group;
  • Multiple private dwelling categorywinners: Trinity Mews, Edinburgh, by Zone Architects, for Dundas Developments Ltd; jointly with Simon Square, Edinburgh, by Fraser/Livingstone Architects, for Seven Hills Investments; commended: New Steiner, Glasgow, by Grant | Murray Architects Ltd, for Steiner Property; The Botanics, Glasgow, by CDA, for David Wilson Homes; and The McEwan, Edinburgh, by CDA for Moda Living; and
  • Chartered Institute of Building awardwinner: Glendale Cottage, Muirmill, by Ann Nisbet Studio.

Tall city buildings

THE experience of other cities is to be investigated, to help shape proposed guidance on tall buildings in Glasgow.

Says an announcement issued by Glasgow City Council, here: “A number of tall buildings in the city centre are currently either being constructed (such as the Candleriggs and Pitt Street developments), have planning consent or are proposed (former Marks & Spencer store on Sauchiehall Street and at Port Dundas Road).

“More applications for tall buildings are expected in future years as demand for housing and other uses in the city centre grows. In addition, the repurposing of existing city centre buildings will in some cases necessitate additional height to create more floorspace.”

Glasgow city centre

WORK is expected to begin in spring on the latest phase of an urban regeneration programme for the centre of Glasgow.

According to an update (here and here) presented to the city’s elected members, a tender has been issued for construction on what has been described as the ‘Argyle Street West (Kingston Bridge to Union Street)’ section of The Avenues programme, which will – when completed – cost an estimated £115m.

The programme – being paid for by the Glasgow City Region, itself funded by the Scottish and UK governments – consists of several ‘blocks’, as follows:

Block A – Argyle Street West (Kingston Bridge to Union St); Argyle Street East (Union St to Glasgow Cross) and Dixon Street/St Enoch Square; Cathedral Street; North Hanover Street (Cathedral St to Kyle St) and Kyle Street; Sauchiehall Precinct; The Underline Phase 1 (Cambridge Street) and The Underline Phase 2 (New City Road).

Block B – Holland Street/Pitt Street; Elmbank Street/Elmbank Crescent; Stockwell/Glassford Street; Broomielaw/Clyde Street; and High Street.

Block C – George Square; St Vincent Street/St Vincent Place and Cochrane Street; West George Street and George Street; John Street; Hanover/Miller Street; and Dundas Street and Dundas Lane.

Block D – International Financial Services District (IFSD) west; and Hope Street.

Block S (Avenues Plus) – South Portland Street; Dobbie’s Loan; Duke Street and John Knox Street; and Cowcaddens Road.

Graffiti ‘summit’

A ROUND-table event is expected to take place early next year, to debate the problem of graffiti in Edinburgh.

Announcing its ‘summit’ plans, The City of Edinburgh Council says, here: “The council, meanwhile, is investing £0.75m to give the capital a deeper clean and enhance its graffiti task force, all with the aim of improving the look and feel of Edinburgh’s streets.”

The announcement describes the issue as “growing”.

It adds: “Having carried out deep cleans in the city centre, crews are now moving into other town centres and communities. As well as removing graffiti, the new teams are power-washing streets, pavements, monuments and statues, stonework and place markings as well as removing chewing gum and using steam cleaners to remove weeds.”

Powered by sewerage

A CONTRACT looks set to be awarded for a district heating system in Edinburgh, to be powered by sewerage.

A so-called ‘sewer-source, low-carbon heat network’ has been identified for what is being described (here) as a ‘new coastal town’ in Granton, in the north of the city.

And the contract being recommended – but first requiring approval from city’s Finance and Resources committee, meeting on Tuesday – is with Swedish power company, Vattenfall.

Says Vattenfall, here: “District heating is an efficient way of providing sustainable heating solutions by replacing fossil alternatives. Most people would, however, be surprised if they knew that water from toilets, rivers, production of algae and porcelain contribute heat to the system.”

Pavement parking

CARS are to be banned from parking on pavements in Edinburgh, from January.

Reports the BBC, here: “[Edinburgh] will be the first city in Scotland to implement the ban, which could see drivers who mount the kerb facing a £100 fine.”

The decision was teed up by the city council, here, on Monday.

Mixed report card for ‘local living’ draft guidance

DRAFT guidance on ‘local living’ and ’20-minute neighbourhoods’ has received a mixed report card, following a survey of people’s thoughts.

The concept of ‘local living’ and ’20-minute neighbourhoods’ is about places where people live close to amenities such as education, food shopping and recreation. The draft guidance can be found, here.

The survey (here – held between April and July) received some 615 responses: 509 from individuals and 106 from organisations.

While the draft guidance appears to have been mostly welcomed, it seems there were also significant caveats, including how it has been written.

Among the most telling, the Scottish Government’s Local Government and Housing Directorate reports, here: “A recurring theme, raised by individuals and organisations, was ensuring the necessary infrastructure is in place to support ‘local living’.

“Many argued that the lack of infrastructure meant implementing the approach would be challenging or unrealistic. Respondents described the need for improved bus, rail and ferry transport, more investment in public services such as hospitals, the need for better digital connectivity, and the perceived lack of services in residential development areas.”

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Picture credits: Place Design Scotland and JM Architects (the student block story)

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