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Re Building Scotland

Architect Neil Gillespie OBE takes the Saltire Society’s 1941 publication Building Scotland as his starting point. Published during the war Alan Reiach and Robert Hurd’s book looked to a future where good architecture would be an intrinsic part of Scottish civic society. The post-war void would be filled with the clean lines of new hospitals and social housing. While there was much hope and optimism for the built environment many of the buildings disappointed. Even today architects are still hamstrung by restricted budgets and short lead times, argues Gillespie. With little time allowed for design development it is small wonder that so many buildings lack the refinement and style that Reiach and Hurd hankered for.


In this Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design the Saltire Society is delighted to publish this provocative take on what’s wrong with so much of modern architecture: from its uniformity to its reliance on system-built prefabrication, from the threat globalisation imposes on all things local and distinct to the curse of the “starchitect”.


Neil Gillespie’s call is clarion clear: “Scotland needs to regain a relevant architecture culture that places people first through dignified and appropriate design".