‘Ugly affordable housing’ in rural Scotland is damaging tourism, says architecture academic
Ugly affordable housing in rural Scotland is damaging tourism, according to a professor of architecture at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
Professor Gökay Deveci said modern-looking homes in places like Skye and Shetland were “spoiling the best things” about Scotland, The Times reports.
He said: “Poems, singing, architecture — these are crucial parts of culture. You don’t get the same poems and singing coming out of Fraserburgh, the Borders and Skye, yet we are still seeing the same kind of housing.
“People come to Scotland for history and beauty, from all over the world, and fall in love with these islands. So why are we spoiling the best things we have?”
Alasdair Stephen, director of Dualchas Architects, with offices in Skye and Glasgow, said: “Most people tend to go to kit house companies and a lot of the designs have not changed in 40 years. There have been some inappropriate kit houses built in crofting areas.
“Croft land has become ruinously expensive. There is also a lack of contractors, which makes the ones available more expensive. People cannot afford stone and slate — it is a fundamental problem.”
Neil Baxter, general secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said: “Much of the housing that continues to be built around Scotland does not have the input of architects.
“Edinburgh’s New Town was built by developers but always with the involvement of architects. Perhaps this should be a marriage that is remade between mass housebuilders and architects rather than simply relying on the same product that is rolled out in Surrey and Sutherland. simply need to pick up the phone.”
Stephen Kemp, president of the Scottish Building Federation, added: “We are delivering some of the most energy-efficient homes in the country, which also comes at an additional cost. While we do what we can to reflect local architecture and design, this needs to be balanced against commercial reality.”