St. Andrew's House, Edinburgh, Scotland

Thomas S Tait of Burnet, Tait & Lorne
Date Built
1935 - 1939
Regent Road
This somewhat monolithic art-deco building, perched on the slopes of Calton Hill, looking down on Edinburgh's city centre, is St. Andrew's House. 

Originally home to the Scottish Office, it is, in 2016, still an important office building belonging to the Scottish Government. 

It occupies a site that was home to Calton Jail from 1817 until it was demolished in 1930.  What followed was decades of arguing about what would be built in its place.  There was a desire to build an iconic building for such a prestigious site but little agreement on what that building would be.  This was followed by further arguments about which design to use and it wasn't until 1934 that the city settled on Tait's design.  It took 20 years to reach this point but Tait was given only 5 months to finalize his plans. 

The Scottish Government website says of it that it is, ".... widely acclaimed as a superb hybrid - a classical frontage to the north blending in with Calton's Greek-inspired monuments and gracious modernism on the south following the hill's contours. .... Architectural historian David Walker ranks St Andrew's House among the greatest public buildings of its era: 'It is not in Britain but rather among the great North American capitols and other major public buildings of the inter-war years that its peers are to be found.'"

The large bronze doors were apparently designed by Walter Gilbert and executed by H.H. Martyn.  I have seen the heraldic sculptures credited to John Marshall, Alexander Carrick and Phyllis Bone.   Sir William Reid Dick designed the symbolic figures.

The building underwent a major refurbishment in 2001, although, as you can see, the facade is still coated in a sooty residue.

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