Caledonia Dreaming, Scottish Architecture, Best Buildings in Scotland

Caledonia Dreaming: World-Class Scottish Architecture, Scotland

13 Mar 2020

Whether you’re an architecture student or professional practitioner, chances are you’re currently keeping yourself busy during lockdown by developing which ever projects are practicable from your drawing board and wistfully wishing you could get outdoors to experience beautiful buildings in all their brick and mortar glory.

But one distraction that might keep you motivated in these days of social distancing is planning a grand tour you can embark on during the post-lockdown period, and planning which iconic architectural sites you’d like to get reacquainted with or experience for the first time.

If you’re based in Britain, where better to start than Scotland, where the stunning natural scenery is complemented by some of the world’s most impressive man-made wonders?

Join us in some Caledonia Dreaming as we explore some world-class Scottish architecture.


One of the great things about Scotland is that so many of its hotspots are in close proximity – hire a car online from the likes of Enjoy Travel anywhere in the central belt and the major cities are no more than a couple of hours from each other.

Elegant Edinburgh is arguably the jewel in the architectural crown because, frankly, it’s tough to compete with its neat Neoclassical New Town, labyrinthine Old Town and endless excellent examples of dynamic modern design.

The Scottish Parliament Building is a brilliant case in point – nestled near Holyrood Palace in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags, this Enric Miralles creation juxtaposes nautical shapes and sleek curves in a fantastic fusion that’s far greater than the sum of its parts.

And if you’re a fan of throwback architecture, look no further than Edinburgh Castle – can you imagine the logistics required to construct a stronghold that’s perched on top of a volcanic plug?

If you happen to be in the Scottish capital at Christmas time, don’t forget to check out The Dome on George Street – this beautiful bar and restaurant always adorns its elegant columns in decorative holly, ivy and gorgeous festive garlands.


Nestled north of Fife, Dundee is another eclectic east coast destination that’s fast becoming one of the world’s coolest cities, according to international publications like National Geographic.

It’s grabbed the global headlines in recent years thanks to the spaceship silhouette of the V&A Dundee design museum. Jutting out from the shore of the River Tay at the city’s waterfront, the distinctive angular outline of this Kengo Kuma masterpiece is inspired by rugged cliffsides commonly found on Scotland’s northeast coast.

From the front of this futuristic building you can see the Tay Road Bridge’s steep gradient to the left and the Tay Rail Bridge’s traditional outline to the right, yet more examples of Scotland’s proud civil engineering heritage.

And if all of this architectural inspiration sets your stomach rumbling, head straight for The Bach restaurant at Meadowside in the city centre for New Zealand cuisine with a Scottish twist – the Kiwi burger with beetroot is to die for.

Have we missed any of your favourite examples of Scottish architecture? Let us know by sending a comment

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Cairngorms National Park Authority’s HQ, Grantown-on-Spey, Northern Scotland
Design: Moxon Architects
Cairngorms National Park Authoritys Headquarters
image courtesy of architects
Cairngorms Building

New Macallan Distillery, Easter Elchies estate, Speyside, Northeast Scotland
Design: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting
photo © Speirs + Major
New Macallan Distillery Building

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