Thursday, 8 October 2009

Leith Docks - an epicentre of dynamic growth!

I'm deeply privileged today to write a review of one of Scotland's greatest success stories of visionary planning and property development. It's a veritable dripping roast of invention and superlatives, truly the eastern equivalent of Glasgow Harbour in every way. The team that did the astonishing breakthrough thinking on this one are Forth Ports (who kindly donated the land), Turkey Associates and RMJM, they of the recent heroic failure at Custom House Quay in Glasgow. One word - wow!

You know, it's sometimes hard to take in the sheer comprehensive brilliance of some projects - the diamond sharp intellectual endeavour, the world class parametric design work not to mention the streetwise nous that can turn a derelict area into a thriving community of beautiful houses, shops and parks all wrapped up into one of the finest urban development frameworks you will see around Edinburgh since Wester Hailes was but a twinkle in a planner's eye. Recently a member of the Prince's Foundation described it as being, 'as good as Sierra Leone'. That's praise indeed coming from a world traveller and member of the Royal Family - a total pat on the back for Forth Ports and for Turkey Associates, a real feather in their cap.

But the dynamic team didn't have it all their own way. They were beset by hippies and ne'er-do-wells throughout the course of the work and even in the completed state that you see in the images above, organisations like JUMP are proposing a 'contra-plan' for the area. You can see this below and quite frankly, anyone who still uses coloured pencils these days is hopelessly off message.

This is typical of Scotland today and frankly there is every possibility that the sort of people who propose alternatives to the brilliant schemes of established and respected figures in the Edinburgh scene and elsewhere could usher in a new dark age for the country if their activities go unchecked. An age in which developments like Leith Docks, Glasgow Harbour, Eurocentral and the Bellshill Hilton simply won't happen. A worrying prospect for the nation so Alex Salmond, please take note.


Nemesis said...

A Turkey - it's for life, not just for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

wow, that second photo looks some sort of crazy machine for humans to live in.

i also like the third picture.. such splendid isolation.

Dave Thompson said...

thank you both and vitsee, yes it is an amazing place - top notch. with every best wish, Dave T

Greener Leith said...

Here in the people's utopian republic of Leith we're certainly lucky to have inspirational RMJM working on our side. You must be really jealous in Auchterness.

Needless to say, when Gregor Shore folded we were sad to lose them and feared for the future of the 'regeneration' project. However, Forth Ports seem to keep churning out more top quality proposals - you should check out the 'vision' for Ocean Terminal when the tram comes.

Dave Thompson said...

Dear Greener Leith - thank you for these incredible insights. I am as they say in football parlance "completely gutted" that this hasn't happened in Auchterness - every best wish to you - Dave T