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Latitude: 55.9798 / 55°58'47"N
Longitude: -3.1924 / 3°11'32"W
OS Eastings: 325689
OS Northings: 676953
OS Grid: NT256769
Mapcode National: GBR 8N3.VX
Mapcode Global: WH6SD.XYZP
Entry Name: Edinburgh, 4, 6 Great Michael Rise
Listing Date: 17 October 1996
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 390282
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB43700
Building Class: Cultural
Unitary Authority Ward: Leith
Traditional County: Midlothian
Basil Spence, 1957. 3 2- and 3-storey, 3- and 4-bay tenement blocks stepped down towards harbour (Nos 4-10 4-bay, No 12 3-bay). Predominantly painted harl; base course and forestairs comprising granite setts (salvaged from road); timber boarding to recessed bays to outer right. Exterior stairs with iron railings to 1st floor; single iron piloti support overhangs.
E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION NOS 4-10: single door at ground beneath stair in bay to outer left; 2 single windows in bays to right; recessed single window in bay to outer right. Exterior stair to 1st floor entry in bay to outer left. 1st floor fenestration mirrors that at ground. No 12: single door at ground in central bay; single windows in both bays at 1st floor; 2 bipartite windows in both bays at 2nd floor. Bipartite windows at 1st and 2nd floors in recessed bay to outer right.
Variety of replacement uPVC, metal and original timber picture and casement windows. Grey slate roofs, rendered stacks at centre comprising precast concrete coping; circular cans.
B Group with Nos 1-19 and 2 -16 New Lane, 2 and 14-20 Great Michael Rise, Nos 29, 30 and 33 Annfield (see separate list entries). Just as he did at Dunbar, here Spence made a deliberate attempt to combine modern and vernacular. Thus, thin iron railings, picture windows, projecting concrete balconies and exposed floor slabs. Stepped down towards the harbour with recessed entries, slate roofs and exterior stairs, the fishing village vernacular is echoed in a 20th century idiom - compare with Westmost Close, Newhaven, St Moran?s, Fife or Cross Wynd, Falkland. Drawing upon the tradition of such housing on Scotland?s East Coast, Spence set coloured harl against natural materials such as stone and slate. The whole was then surrounded by expanses of grass. Using setts salvaged from the road for base courses and forestairs, he repeated a practice developed at Dunbar where whitewashed walls were combined with red sandstone bases - a physical and intentionally visible combination of old and new. Completed in 1954, Spence?s Dunbar project won a Saltire Award and has subsequently been labelled "...an exemplar of urban conservation" (Edwards p 39). 1957 saw the presentation of the same award for his work at Newhaven. Both respectful of their surroundings and both promoting the importance of the past whilst meeting contemporary needs and looking to the future, Dunbar and Newhaven established Spence as a key figure in post war urban architecture.
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