Each to its time

Every time has its own eyesores / Paskudztwo na miarę swoich czasów

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The greatest loss that came with the demolition of old St James Centre (1975-2016, architects: Burke & Martin 1964-, Hugh Martin & Partners 1969-) is the footbridge above Leith Street. I mean, wouldn’t you want to walk through this space!


Okay, perhaps the footbridge itself is a bit tacky. Especially if you look at this picture – it really does look like a parasite, weaving its way through the city.

But in some old pictures you can still see the old footbridge. The original had been scrapped and replaced with that glass-plastic monstrosity before 2003, when the new one opened (plasticity and Brutalism don’t combine well). Before that, the old footbridge had stood there for nearly 30 years, since 1975, when the Thatcher-era shopping centre had opened.

old footbridge

With either one in place, I find there is something lovable about footbridges in general. Maybe it’s the fact that you can cross the street without having to wait for the lights for what seems like an eternity. Or that you can cross the street at all – this can’t always be taken as a given (have you ever been to the Bielsko-Biała train station? As they would say in Poland, pasów dla pieszych ani widu, ani słychu).

Perhaps the next post will also be about footbridges. Or external staircases. Richard Murphy effectively revived my love for them during his last lecture for EUSAS in Adam House lecture theatre.

Photo sources: retailgazette.co.uk, canmore.org.uk, geograph.org.uk, edinburghnews.scotsman.com (click on images)

Published by kotersey

Graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First in geography, and from the University of Brighton with a Master's in history of design and material culture. Probably drinking iced coffee and thinking about buildings.

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