Leith 'Banana Flats' Design Deemed Of National Importance

Leith's ''banana flats'' have been awarded Category A listing for ''excellence in modernist urban design''.

Built in the 1960s, the curving Cables Wynd House was made famous with a role in Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting.

Along with neighbouring Linksview House, Historic Environment Scotland said the buildings are of ''national or international importance'', characterising the ''new brutalism'' design movement.

The Forth Road Bridge, St Peter's Seminary in Cardross and the Bannockburn Memorial Cairn in Stirlingshire are among the sites already listed as Category A.

The decision to promote the flats' status came after consultation with residents, members of the public and Edinburgh City Council, which owns some of the properties.

Dawn McDowell, deputy head of designations at Historic Environment Scotland, said: ''Following the Second World War, Scotland's cities undertook ambitious building programmes to improve living conditions and health standards.

''Cables Wynd was the largest block of flats in Edinburgh at the time, and possibly the most accomplished architecturally, characterising the 'new brutalism' in building, which laid bare the essential materials of a building's construction, using reinforced and in situ concrete.''

Professor Miles Glendinning, director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies, said: ''These two blocks abundantly merit their listing at Category A, because they combine international excellence in modernist urban design with an attention to the spirit of place that is specific to Edinburgh, especially to the 'conservative surgery' concept of urban renewal, pioneered by Patrick Geddes around 1900.

''Edinburgh's post-war multi-storey social housing redevelopments were designed to fit into small, highly constrained sites.

''I believe that Cables Wynd House in particular was built in its distinctive curved shape as a creative solution to the constraints of that particular site.

''Along with Linksview House, it represents an outstanding synthesis of international modernist architecture with Geddes's 'conservative surgery' principles.''

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