An architecture student’s take on the City Of Stirling

SCHT was pleased to offer a 1-month placement for an architecture student in August 2020 through The Robertson Trust who are our landlords at The Barracks. They support students through their Journey to Success programme and we were more than happy to get involved.

At the Trust, we are keen to offer opportunities to young people working in the built environment and were delighted to be able to offer Ross Caddens a placement. He recently completed his 3rd year in Architecture Studies at Strathclyde University. Of course, this year has not been a normal one by any means, so Ross completed his internship remotely, working from home like the rest of the SCHT team. Ross primarily worked with our Grants & Outreach Officer Rachael on research for our forthcoming McLuckie & Walker exhibition. However, he did manage to squeeze in a visit Stirling to have a look at the buildings and SCHT projects. Below are some of his observations from his trip to our city with Trust Manger Lindsay Lennie.

An Architecture Student’s Take on The City Of Stirling

During August 2020 I have been an intern at Stirling City Heritage Trust, and as I had never visited Stirling, this internship gave me the opportunity to find out more about the architecture of the city, as well as to develop my professional skillset.

Underappreciated and unknown – McLuckie & Walker

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, two names I’ve grown up hearing both before and after having an interest in architecture, well-known throughout Glasgow and without a doubt – known across the nation. For my internship, I’ve been researching two architects who aren’t as well known, despite being responsible for building much of a city. Andrew McLuckie and Ronald Walker, the duo known as ‘McLuckie & Walker’, are responsible for designing over 200 buildings in Stirling between 1886 and 1911; almost half of which still stand today.

It is amazing that two people can contribute so much to one place, whilst simultaneously going unnoticed and largely unheard of. After visiting Stirling and compiling a gazetteer of their buildings for SCHT, I can confirm I am a fan of their work. As a result of my internship, I have learned more about architecture in Stirling and I believe it’s a city that has a great deal to offer.

The Hills

Stirling is hilly! The three hours I spent there walking around felt like a full-body workout. The twisty pavements lead you uphill, and I was intrigued to find out what awaited me around every corner, before I knew it I was high above where I started.

There are layers to the cityscape, and I noticed several spires throughout Stirling. The peaks of these buildings almost metaphorically dictate the direction that you are traveling, which is almost always upwards. At first, you are looking up at them as you start your journey and pass by these buildings, then shortly after you are looking down on them, and they remind you of the distance you have travelled and the architecture that you have seen along the way.

John Allan

No matter where you are in Stirling, a John Allan building will make itself known to you. Whether it be on a corner, in the middle of a block, or elsewhere, a typical building of Allan’s will stand out due to its unique style and overall contrast to its neighbouring counterparts.

I was fascinated by the Tudor style of some of his buildings, they clearly stood out, however, they didn’t appear out of place. I believe I saw three buildings by Allan on my trip, two of which had this unique, Tudor style appearance, introducing an interesting colour and texture palette to the street. The combination of numerous materials and colours is enough to grab everyone’s attention. The building on the corner of Bank Street and Baker Street takes both hills into consideration for the entrance thresholds and uses the topography to its advantage.

This grand building, 55 Baker Street, was one of the most interesting I looked at on my trip, it is certainly the most memorable one, primarily due to its contrast to the surrounding streetscape.

Photograph of 55 Baker Street by Jo Cound.

Closing Thoughts

One of my main takeaways is that the city of Stirling feels a lot more like a town, at the end of my trip I was able to walk along the bridge back to the train station and reflect upon the day. A lot had been explored in a short period of time and I was able to see how much ground I had covered, remembering the variety of places that I was lucky enough to experience throughout the day.

Seeing the aspects of Stirling that I had researched at my desk in person was quite cool, and I was now able to recognise street names and certain buildings – it was a satisfying feeling and memorable experience.

A city that can complement its past, as well as prepare for its future, is a successful city in my opinion. Stirling is a great city with great architecture, one I look forward to visiting and experiencing again; from the McLuckie & Walker buildings to the new builds created for Stirling’s future – like McLuckie & Walker, Stirling is not to be underestimated.

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