Sir Robert Matthew, designed 1953-6, built 1957-60. Large complex of residential buildings. 5-storey, 6-bay entrance block with single storey, curved wing to E and loosely arranged 2 and 3 storey courtyard to N, linked by single storey sections. Variety of materials including harling, timber cladding and bullfaced random rubble cladding. Timber framed windows, mostly horizontally orientated; distinctive L-shaped door and window ensembles to ground floors of some courtyard blocks. Predominantly pitched, pantiled roofs; flat roofs to single storey linking sections and S block of courtyard. Distinctive rounded corners to inner edges of glazed timber door frames.
ENTRANCE BLOCK: rubble and timber cladding to ground floor, harling above with some sections of timber cladding. To W elevation, ground floor extended to form terrace, accessed by external concrete steps; to upper stories of W elevation, 2 slightly recessed bays to right. Single bay N and S elevations; gable end stack to N elevation. To E elevation, single storey timber clad entrance foyer projecting to left; to right, long single storey, timber and rubble clad, wing with curved S elevation and long strip window, set-back inverse-pitched clerestory and double height glazed E end.
COURTYARD BLOCKS : S block: rectangular plan, 2-storey block, predominantly timber clad with some harling; flat roofed. W block: intersects with linking section from S block at centre; 3-storey rectangular block; harled with rubble clad gable ends and projecting stair tower. N block: 2-storey, rectangular-plan; timber clad central section with continuous glazing to both floors; flanked to both ends by harled sections. E block: 3-storey, rectangular-plan block; harled with rubble clad gable-ends and slightly projecting single stair bays to E and W elevations.
Statement of Special Interest
Crombie Halls are an excellent and almost unaltered example of the early post-war private practice work of Sir Robert Matthew. They are among the very best 1950s Modern Movement buildings in Scotland.
In 1953, Matthew was commissioned to draw up a development plan for the university campus; the university was anticipating a considerable increase in student numbers following its recent emergence from a lengthy period of decline. As part of this process, Matthew drew up designs for a ground-breaking mixed sex hall of residence, the first in Scotland. Matthew himself commented that the character of Crombie Hall was influenced by the small-scale informal civic character of the university. Materials and form were influenced by vernacular traditions. The siting of Crombie Hall reflects Matthew's wider vision for the campus, preserving the High Street and concentrating new development in the backlands of the campus.