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Frictions and Translations: An Interrogation of the Value Attributed by Different Stakeholders to St Margaret's House

Part 1 Dissertation 2022
Coll Drury
Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture | UK
In 2008, an imposing but abandoned post-war office block in Edinburgh was occupied by a small artist collective called Edinburgh Palette. Spreading across a handful of floors and a few dozen make-do studios, this collective spent the next decade gradually adapting and reanimating the nine-storey building, filling the renewed space with painters, sculptors, ceramicists, hairdressers, judo clubs, councillors, et cetera - the list goes on. Despite their productivity and diversity, the users of St Margaret’s House represent only one of a number of site stakeholders. Amongst land-owners, councils, and developers, they are often erased, as is the value they bring to the building.

This dissertation seeks to understand the uncertain future of St Margaret’s House by interrogating how its value (or lack thereof) depends on the lenses through which different stakeholders view it.

Alongside a textual investigation of the site’s economic and socio-political context, a survey of the building visually documents the diversity of adaptations and spaces found inside. Both photography and LIDAR scans were used to register and make visible the intimate and tangible qualities associated with the building’s inhabitation - ones that discussions of both future developments on the site and architectural value more generally tend to forget or ignore.

Coll Drury

Simone Ferracina
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