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Royal (Dick) Veterinary College, Summerhall, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9397 / 55°56'23"N

Longitude: -3.1822 / 3°10'55"W

OS Eastings: 326253

OS Northings: 672485

OS Grid: NT262724

Mapcode National: GBR 8QL.X8

Mapcode Global: WH6SM.2YYX

Plus Code: 9C7RWRQ9+V4

Entry Name: Royal (Dick) Veterinary College, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Listing Name: Summerhall, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Listing Date: 12 March 2002

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395958

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48536

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: Southside/Newington

Traditional County: Midlothian

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David McArthy, 1909-1916; later additions to rear. 11-bay Edwardian Baroque college building; substantial later additions of 7-storey and basement laboratory tower (Block D) to NW and 4-storey, rectangular-plan animal treatment facility (Block B) to SE by Alan Reiach, Eric Hall and Partners, 1969-1971 (T A Jamieson, project architect; Blyth & Blyth, structural engineers), in New Brutalist style.

1909-1916 COLLEGE BUILDING: 11-bays. 3-storey and basement 3-bay centre pavilion with 2-storey and basement 3-bay wings linked to pedimented single bay outer pavilions. Pink ashlar. Balustraded parapet. Projecting central pavilion with channelled pilasters to corners and mullioned and transomed tripartite windows; entrance and Venetian window to 1st floor flanked by giant Ionic columns bearing segmental pediment; bowed steps to 2-leaf glazed timber-panelled door with sunburst fanlight in blocked round-arched surround with segmental pediment and blocked flanking columns on pedestals. Linking bays divided by giant Ionic columns. Channelled pilaster strips to pedimented outer bays; tripartitie windows with Ionic colonnettes bearing segmental pediments at 1st floor. Stone balustrade to basement area at central pavilion, cast-iron railings to outer wings.

INTERIOR: glazed vestibule (bevelled glass) with 2-leaf timber-panelled glazed door with broken pediment, leading to timber-panelled stair hall. Ionic-columned Imperial staircase with turned balusters and moulded timber handrail; stained glass Venetian window with memorial to William Dick.

Modern glazing.

BLOCK D (1967-1971): 7-storey and basement, square-plan laboratory tower, with chamfered corners, sunken lecture theatre wing on its south-east and a single-storey link to 1916 building to S. Reinforced concrete construction with brick and blockwork infill. Pre-cast concrete spandrel panels, ribs and 'Derbyshire Spar' aggregate panels; compound-coated slate-grey steel (Galbestos) ribbed panels; ceramic facing tiles. Red-coloured tiles to ground and 1st floors. Windows set in reddish pre-cast spandrel panels, continuing on the chamfered corners. Bays articulated by vertical smooth white ribs. Limited fenestration to 6th floor, mostly clad in ribbed compound panels, similar to fascia of link to original building. Interior: laboratories completely refurbished and the remaining original features.

BLOCK B (1967-1971): 4-storey, rectangular-plan extension forming SE wing to original building, enclosing courtyard. Adjoining 1916 building at 3rd and 4th floors with pend entrance to courtyard below.

Enclosed steel bridge links at 1st floor adjoining earlier courtyard buildings to rear. Reinforced concrete construction with brick and blockwork infill. Red-tinted aggregate panels with facing tiles to lower storeys. The stair tower has opaque panels of moulded glass, its sides clad in the reddish ceramic tiles. S (principal) elevation: external stair leading to 1st floor entrance, glazed doors with row of windows set in a timber frame. Continuous bands of timber-framed windows to 2nd and 3rd floors. N (courtyard) elevation: fenestration similar to S, with ground floor windows and a projecting glazed stair. Pend fitted with wrought-iron gates. Interior: plain interiors with some hardwood detailing; relatively unchanged from original. Linking bridge is a later addition.

Statement of Interest

The Veterinary College was founded by William Dick (1793-1866), an Aberdeenshire farrier's son, who studied anatomy in Edinburgh, went to the London Veterinary College in 1817, and returned to set up his own veterinary college in Edinburgh. The original premises were on the site of Dick's forge in Clyde Street; the statue of a recumbent horse (by John Rhynd, 1883) in Summerhall Place formerly crowned the building in Clyde Street. Among Dick's students were the founders of veterinary schools in Canada, the USA, Australia and Ireland. The design of the building is significant for the expanse of fenestration appropriate to its function. The College became a faculty of the University of Edinburgh in 1964. Block D is a significant work of late Scottish Modernism, acting as a landmark, rising up at the east end of the Meadows and marks the edge of the University area. It appears to be engaged in a skyline dialogue with the twin towers of George Square. Of these, the Appleton Tower was also by Reiach's practice. Although the red sandstone of the 1916 building may have determined the colour of the cladding slabs, there is no other local precedent informing its striking appearance. The main influence on the building form is the Economist building, in London, by Alison and Peter Smithson (1964). Block B, which is more overtly functional, may also be influenced by the Smithson's sense of rectilinear formality. Its fittings are typical of Scottish institutional buildings of the period.

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