Well-built

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Many of us will be dismayed at the recent demolition of Abronhill High School in Cumbernauld, not only due to fond memories of its Gregory’s Girl location but because, despite opening in 1978, it was earmarked for closure in 2012 after only 34 years.

Here, our secondary school’s 1967 campus was deemed unfit for purpose more than ten years ago, while its original 1833 building, after a long-neglected refurbishment is implemented, is probably good for another 180 years.

What is it about many of our public buildings, not only from the much-derided 1950s and 1960s but as recently as the late 1970s, that their life-spans are so short?

We bean-counters cannot take all the blame – we would hardly approve of the immense annual costs of amortising initial capital outlays over such a short time.

Clearly it is difficult to foresee how developments in technology (and for schools, in educational methods) might impact on practical state-of-the-art designs, but surely it is not beyond the wit of our architects and planners to devise buildings flexible enough internally to accommodate such developments, while being environmentally-sustainable and aesthetic externally, thus enabling at least 100 years of service?

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews