Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

STIRLING UNIVERSITY CAMPUS, 1 AIRTHREY CASTLE YARD, PRINCIPAL'S HOUSELB51322

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Group Category Details
100000019 - (see NOTES)
Date Added
15/05/2009
Local Authority
Stirling
Planning Authority
Stirling
Parish
Logie (Stirling)
NGR
NS 81137 96808
Coordinates
281137, 696808

Description

Morris and Steedman 1966-67, incorporating earlier boundary walls. Single storey, arrowhead-plan, Modernist house with oversailing flat roofs and central raised clerestory. Set on prominent precipice on ground falling steeply to SW in former walled policy of Airthrey Castle (see separate listing). Painted render, coursed random rubble base course, deeply set to rear. Predominantly rendered N and E elevations; stepped N elevation with walls enclosing deeply recessed doorways to right (W) with rectangular sidelights and timber louvers; open carport to far left (E). Small advanced perpendicular rendered fins to E elevation with tall narrow windows to left (S) of each fin. Continuous runs of horizontal windows to S and W elevations wrapping around corners.

Predominantly large pane plate glass in rectangular timber casement windows; some fixed pane glazing to E elevation and clerestory. Deep timber platform roof; capped aluminium flue and felt covered water tanks to centre.

INTERIOR: simple Modern Movement interior with predominantly open-plan public rooms; private rooms accessed off single service corridor. Interior characterised by large areas of glazing and high ceilings. Open-plan lounge to apex of plan with built in cupboards under windows and wide rectangular stone hearth. Doors full height floor to ceiling with plain timber frames. Some original floor to ceiling built-in cupboards in bedrooms.

Statement of Special Interest

A-group with Nuffield Staff Houses at Nos. 2 -7 Airthrey Castle Yard (see separate listings). An outstanding example of a post-War Modernist private house by one of Scotland's most important practices of this period who were leaders in avant-garde house design. The house demonstrates an innovative linear plan which relates sensitively to its natural setting in a former walled policy of Airthrey Castle (see separate listing). The Principal's house is the key building in an outstanding grouping of bespoke modernist houses which includes the staff houses. The original character and design is not significantly altered by later minor alteration. Its interior treatment is simple yet refined providing a suite of entertainment spaces (as specified by the first principal, Tom Cottrell) and uses high quality materials and finishes throughout.

The intervisibility of the main spaces is a key component of the open-plan nature of the group of houses designed for Airthrey Castle Yard. This treatment of interior spaces is also a common theme within the work of Morris and Steedman and works in tandem with skilled control of the flow of public and private spaces. Particularly successful is how the space is conceived carefully to reveal both internal and external vistas.

The house has a distinctive rectilinear form, which is emphasised by the large oversailing roof appearing to float above several runs of continuous horizontal windows to the rear (SW) whilst the smoothness of the walls to the front (NE) also creates the same effect. The overtly Modernist form in its long low profile responds sensitively to the site in woodland and set against a dramatic craggy backdrop, a device common throughout the work of Morris and Steedman. This is further emphasised by the stepping of the building into the slope and the incorporation of the walls of the former walled policy. The relatively closed entrance elevation with timber louvers covering the doors sidelights contrasts markedly to the predominantly glazed aspect of the garden/campus elevation, and is another common feature in their work.

The practice of Morris and Steedman is recognised as a pioneer of modern architecture in Scotland. James Shepherd Morris (1931-2006) and Robert Russell Steedman (b.1929) both graduated in architecture from Edinburgh School of Art in 1955 before pursuing further studies in landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia where they studied under Philip Johnson. This understanding of landscape and architecture is akin to the Japanese tradition and can be seen in their sensitive reaction to site in their designs. Relevant comparisons can be made to their houses at Ravelston Dykes; Avisfield, Edinburgh; Kevock Road, Lasswade. Their design philosophy was also much influenced by the American work of Johnson and the ideals of Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and Richard Neutra. They returned to Edinburgh to establish their architectural practice in 1957. Although they designed a number of high profile public buildings the practice was best known for its special contribution to domestic architecture during the 1950s, 60s and 70s usually working closely with enlightened clients.

Tom Cottrell was the first Principal of the University of Stirling. He had trained as a scientist, although coming from an artistic background. He strongly believed that art should be part of the everyday experience at the University and as well as putting the emphasis on collecting, he was also a keen proponent of high quality design, and was influential on the design process for the Principal's and staff houses.

References

Bibliography

J Gifford, F Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Stirling and Central Scotland, (2002) p. 790; RCAHMS, Morris and Steedman, Principal's House, Stirling University: [description and photographs with plan] (2001); P Willis, A New Architecture in Scotland (1977).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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