The Scotsman Steps, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scotsman Steps are a Category A listed building and were built in 1899 as part of the Scotsman Building designed by James Dunn and James Finlay. The steps are contained in an octagonal stone tower and form a four-storey pedestrian link between Market Street and North Bridge. The steps are a good example of Scottish Baronial - rather dark and forbidding – and also damp and smelly, having been used as a urinal by some members of the public. They were showing the signs of over a hundred years of regular use, and had become worn and patched in many places. The artist Martin Creed proposed covering the Carmillie sandstone steps with many coloured marbles from all over the world. This, together with the levelling screed that was needed in several places to restore the section, would considerably increase the load on the treads. So the strength and consistency of the stone was checked. Some repairs were specified, and the method of trundling heavy pieces of marble over the stairs was resolved. The brilliant marbles are now a permanent feature of the revived and rejuvenated Scotsman Steps.

Completed 2011.

The Fruitmarket Gallery and the Scottish Government Expo Fund

Haworth Tompkins Architects



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