Meadowbank grandstand is worth saving for its architecture

Meadowbank’s grandstand should be saved on architectural grounds. That’s the view of Dr. Dimitris Theodossopoulos, a lecturer in Architectural Technology at Edinburgh University.

“The architectural beauty of Meadowbank is mainly due to its grandstand,” said Dr. Theodossopoulos. “Get rid of that and the site it loses its character. The grandstand has to stay.

“Meadowbank is one of the last major examples of design carried out by the City Council architects. It can be included in the contemporary examples of creative attitude by local authorities all over Britain, like London’s Royal Festival Hall.

“The Stadium uses an interesting dynamic system of concrete beams and columns to form the main skeleton, which is clearly and elegantly expressed. As someone who is carrying out research on historic and modern shell architecture and structural forms, I find the way the steel members tie the grandstand along the London Road elevation a quite interesting feature, reminiscent of early hi-tech sports architecture like P. L. Nervi’s Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome for the 1960 Olympics. The result is a rhythmical composition which with an improved landscape and lighting scheme can become more prominent.

“I am aware of the problems the council has faced in maintaining the Stadium but I believe the architectural and cultural prominence of the site can be matched to its significance as a vital sports facility for the community and therefore a carefully drafted development masterplan can provide the required value for all of East Edinburgh .

“The whole project could become more viable by incorporating the industrial sites to the south and by demolishing the redundant office block to the east.

“There has not been a comprehensive feasibility study for such an important development. Only a few arguments have been considered and the debate has been based only on the finances needed to create Sighthill and refurbish the Commonwealth Pool.

“The draft development brief only stated no listed buildings are contained in the site which gives a very limited idea of what can constitute heritage or architectural value.

“I therefore register my strong objection to the scheme and the demolition of the Stadium.”

Campaigners welcomed his views. Save Meadowbank spokesperson Chris Gallacher commented: “This is yet another reason to save the site in addition to all those that have already been mentioned.

“A public meeting to discuss the Council’s plans will take place at Meadowbank Stadium on Friday 17 August with a 19:00 BST start. Councillors from all political parties plus Members of Parliament have been invited along with sporting champions past and present.

“The working group set-up to examine the Council’s plan is due to complete its report on 16 August. It will then be put to the full council the following week. This meeting will therefore be the public’s only chance to directly question councillors before they make their decision.”


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