American new urbanist Andres Duany has sparked protests from Scottish architects after alleging the country had not built any housing to be proud of since 1945
During a series of charrettes held as part of the Scottish government’s Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative, Duany said ‘the quality of delivery of housing was in crisis’ and cited Aberdeen’s Seaton tower blocks as an example.
Speaking to local press, Duany - who designed the set for the film The Truman Show - added that Scottish building regulations meant ‘anything good has become illegal’.
Neil Gillespie, principal at Edinburgh-based practice Reiach and Hall, said Duany was ‘ill-informed’ and added: ‘There are many successful schemes to be found in the Highlands, and also within the central belt.’
It is understood the Scottish government shelled out more than £200,000 to import the expertise of Duany’s practice, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company – a move that has also angered under-employed local practices.
Neil Baxter, secretary to the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said Duany’s remarks had left the industry ‘bemused’.
‘Duany clearly hasn’t seen enough of Scotland,’ he added. ‘All he needs to do is visit the New Gorbals in Glasgow. Perhaps it is more robust in form than the architecture he produces, but it is a Scottish version of the new ideal – it’s our new urbanism deep-fried and battered.’
Peter Wilson, director of Edinburgh Napier University’s Wood Studio, said Duany’s ‘twee way of viewing Scotland’ was to blame. ‘He does all these charrettes at a great expense and then expects everything to look like small Scottish town Dunkeld,’ he added.