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Better together for architecture

Better together for architecture

We all knew before the results of the Scottish referendum were announced that there would be a lot of disappointed people. Votes were made by many after balancing the messages of heart and head. It was a major decision with many factors to consider, and it is unlikely that anybody, however deeply embedded in our industry, made their decision on the basis of its impact on construction. But life is, at the very least, made simpler by the no vote. Many insitutions, ranging from the Institution of Civil Engineers to the Landscape Institute, may have had to do some unpicking. Only the architects have separate organisation in Scotland, the estimable RIAS, although they are still under the umbrella of the the RIBA.

Construction of course has long been affected by difference, from a time predating the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. There were always different building regulations, different planning conditions and a different education system in Scotland – all affecting architecture. But the greatest difference came from even farther back – from the geography and geology of Scotland, from its climate and the responses to it. The great cities of Scotland are stone cities, whereas brick dominates in much of England. Rural housing draws inspiration from a range of sources. For instance thre recent award-winning House Number 7 on Tiree by Denizen Works draws both on the rustic black houses and the Nissen huts that were built during World War Two. Scotland of course has its own bad buildings, but it has not succumbed to the bland internationalising to which too many countries, and especially capitals, have been subject. The price of that may be a continuing prickly relationship as the details of ‘Devo Max’ are thrashed out but, architecturally at least, it is worth it

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