Fighting for Height

Architect Richard Murphy's masterplan for Edinburgh's Haymarket is facing complaints about the height of the hotel. Murphy says, 'Our hotel will breach the skyline, and a jolly good thing too.'

BD: The hotel has already generated a lot of interest.

Richard Murphy: It's no big deal to me. Virtually every building I've done in Edinburgh has been subject to campaigns to stop it happening. I've now got an incredibly thick skin about it and I just laugh.

Do you think that's part of being an architect in Edinburgh?

If you want to do something interesting, yes. The easiest thing to do is to knuckle down and do what you're told. Edinburgh New Town was conceived as a city and it generally has some unity about it. Unfortunately, that New Town mentality has spread to the whole of Edinburgh. There's no place for individual buildings, everything has to blend in with the building next door.

How did you address the hotel's height and scale?

Building heights are a very sensitive issue in Edinburgh. The city has brought out a skyline policy, which hasn't been adopted yet, and that's good because the client process is otherwise very hit and miss. You do a big building and once it gets built, people realise it's going to have an impact three miles away from a totally unexpected direction because Edinburgh is so topographical.

Full Story: Reach for the sky

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