Inca sacrifice

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Your report on the “Inca 
terraces” proposed for the Royal High School development (3 September) wrongly states that the building “has been empty since 1968”.

In the late 1970s the school was expensively refurbished by the then government’s Property Services Agency and provided with a dignified 150-seat chamber in anticipation of a Scottish Assembly.

It was then used on occasion for sittings of the Scottish Grand Committee, at least one of which I attended.

It also served for a period as a gallery for the city art collection. It may indeed be the case that a provision exists which requires that future development of the building should be restricted to cultural or educational use – this should be investigated as a matter of urgency.

If this A-listed building has been neglected and fallen into dereliction, then it follows that the owners have manifestly failed to comply with their legally binding duties and obligations, and the Crown Office should consider taking action.

In any event, the proposed extensions, viewed from street level – as opposed to a helicopter – will be overpowering and oppressive, and are unacceptable in Edinburgh’s Unesco World Heritage Site.

David J Black

St Giles Street

Edinburgh

Surely I was not alone in my reaction – “It must be April Fools’ Day” – to the “Inca terraces” image, proposed for the old Royal High School (your report, 3 September).

What on earth is in the water imbibed by some architects, with their Cup-Cake Hotel for St James Centre, London’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper, and now this? Clearly architecture must develop, and Perth’s General Accident building is still a fine example of terracing in an appropriate style and location.

Too often when designs are created in keeping with their surroundings they are derided as “pastiche” – the then Scandic Hotel in the Royal Mile certainly was, but now well-weathered in, it looks “right”, and as good as old! Many of us dread to think what might be inflicted on Madras College’s 1833 building if Fife Council sells it for commercial use – after constructing terraced sports fields for the new school on sloping hillside on St Andrews’ highest point!

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews

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