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Landmark RMJM power station towers demolished

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A 1960s power station near Edinburgh designed by Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners (RMJM) was flattened at the weekend

The distinctive 149m-tall twin towers of the coal-fired Cockenzie plant, along with the engine hall, was blown up by a demolition team at noon on Saturday (26 September). The main boiler house will be pulled down at a later date.

The Modernist structure has been a distinctive landmark on the East Lothian coastline since its construction between 1964 and 1968 - and is even visible from Edinburgh City centre.

In its latest email newsletter, the Scottish Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Sites, Monuments and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement, said: ‘Whereas, in London, Bankside power station has been turned into Tate Modern and Battersea power station is being converted for new uses and, in Dublin, Poolbeg power station has recently been heritage-designated, the destruction of Scotland’s 20th century energy-related heritage continues.’

Gordon Murray, partner at Ryder Architecture and professor of architecture and urban design at the University of Strathclyde said that although there were more interesting examples of power station design, it would have been more sustainable to find a new use for the building.

He said: ‘There are roads, rail and a deep water harbour that would have made it interesting to find a new use for the building – perhaps as a generator of more sustainable energy.”

The demolition has split opinion on Twitter, with many bemoaning the loss and others glad to be rid of what they dub ‘an eyesore’.

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