Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Scotsman Steps project wins Award

The Scotsman Steps project has won a Civic Trust award for its quality and contribution to the community.

Mar 7, 2012

The project saw Edinburgh World Heritage and the City of Edinburgh Council working with the Fruitmarket Gallery to bring the historic steps back to life, and provide a grand public access between the city’s Old and New Town.

The Civic Trust Awards were founded in 1959 to recognise the very best in architecture, planning, landscape and public art. Awards are given to projects of the highest quality, but only if they also have a positive social, cultural or economic contribution to the local community. The citation for the Civic Trust Award comments on the project: "The result is deceptively simple, very functional and quite beautiful".

The Scotsman Steps project is also in the running for for a My Place award, organised by the Scottish Civic Trust, and has been shortlisted for the inaugral RIAS awards. The My Place awards, to be announced later this month, recognise projects that have had a positive benefit to communities, with nominations and voting by local people.

The conservation work to the steps was funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh World Heritage. Under the supervision of architects McGregor Bowes the work involved extensive masonry, new lighting, lead work and painting along with the installation of new handrails and specially commissioned iron gates.

The Fruitmarket Gallery commissioned the Turner-Prize winning Scottish artist, Martin Creed in a £250,000 special art project. The artwork called, Work 1059 clad each of the 104 steps in a different colour of marble. The artwork was supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund for Edinburgh Art Festival 2010, as well as several generous individual and corporate donations.

History of the Scotsman Steps
In 1898 John Ritchie & Co, the proprietors of The Scotsman newspaper, bought an extensive plot of land on the west side of the North Bridge as a new location for the headquarters of the newspaper. The architects Dunn & Findlay were commissioned to design a complex of buildings for the site including offices, print works and commercial premises. What became known as the Scotsman Steps were an important part of the design, as they gave direct access to the lower levels of the building, and to the newspaper’s own private siding at Waverley Station.

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