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366 Days of Architecture

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Thursday 22nd December 2016

Acting the goat.

First day of the last zodiacal sign of the year as we enter Capricorn, which originates from the constellation of Capricornus. It’s one of the Earth signs with Taurus and Virgo and its ancient symbol is the mountain sea-goat with the head and upper body of a goat and the lower of a fish, but now thought of as mostly all goat. Goats are notoriously difficult to manage, which is perhaps why this one in Glasgow is refusing to make direct eye contact. Our shifty eyed goat is in the former library in a house built by the architect A. G. Sydney Mitchell on Lowther Terrace, which was later merged with its two neighbours in to a rest home for the Church of Scotland and now being redeveloped again as private housing and recorded by HES in 2007.

Wednesday 21st December 2016

The Shortest - or the Longest - day.

It’s the December equinox today, usually the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere, but also usually the longest in the Southern. Nowadays we think nothing of wrapping ourselves up in hats, scarves and onesies to sit outside drinking coffee under street heaters, but how nice would it once have been to have ones coffee inside in a heated green space, like this winter garden conservatory at Peebles Hydropathic in the late nineteenth century. The original 1881 Hydro with its long winter garden wing was mostly destroyed by fire in 1904, replaced by the current building in 1907, but the winter garden is long gone as are many which were once attached to both private houses and public buildings.

Tuesday 20th December 2016

Burn, baby, Burn.

It wasn’t as a result of a disco inferno, but Poltalloch House, Argyll, seen here in 1920, is now roofless. It was built for Neill Malcolm by today’s birthday celebrant, architect William Burn, between 1849-53. Burn often designed in a Jacobean manner as here and at buildings such as at Madras Collage, St Andrews, but was an architect who also chose the Gothic as at St John’s Church, Princes St Edinburgh and was a leader in the growing popularity of the Scottish Baronial with his pupil and then partner, David Bryce, possibly a more famous exponent of the style. Burn was one of Scotland’s more prolific nineteenth century architects with a lengthy list of notable jobs during his lifetime, records of many of which are in the HES archive.