The old Royal High School is one of the most magnificent buildings in Edinburgh, and it is heartbreaking to see it in its current state [Breaking news, 16.1.15].
I cannot prevent myself from voicing the thought that I wish the Scottish Parliament could have used the building – with an atrium by Norman Foster it could have been Scotland's Reichstag or British Museum. The debating chamber in the High School building is (or was, at least) a magnificent and inspiring space.
Looking on the bright side, Duddingston House Properties' proposals don't involve housing, student accommodation or retail! – three uses to which I think the building is completely and utterly unsuited. Some sort of cultural space would be wonderful, but without significant public funds, or a friendly Guggenheim with cash to burn, who could feel confident that such a plan would ever see the light of day, and be able to support itself?
Edinburgh is by no means oversupplied with world-class hotels (or indeed, currently, with world-class tourists). I think the building would make a wonderful hotel – the location is good, and there are stunning views. This building has been waiting for over 40 years for a use; we are told that this is the most viable proposal; I for one hope it goes ahead.