Dundee Technology Park
Grianan is Gaelic for a ‘sunny place’, the name of the cottage which stood on the site. The cottage took on an architectural importance to the practice in their consideration of how to create the ‘landmark’ and first speculative office development on Dundee’s then new Technology Park. This concern was, and still is, at odds with the often arbitrary and temporary nature of most business park architecture, where offices and people are marooned in seas of lawns and car parking surrounded by ranks of trees. Grianan had to be a ‘place’ and initially it was thought that the existing cottage could be integrated into the new building, but this line of thought eventually, and perhaps fortunately, morphed into the concept illustrated by the completed building.
The building comprises four squares set within a square. Three of the squares are office space whilst the fourth is a car park courtyard surrounded by ivy clad rubble walling, which creates a place rooted in its setting from which glimpses of the modern office building are revealed beyond and floating above the walls. A two storey glass entrance lobby pierces the courtyard at the intersection of the four squares and leads into a lobby centrally located between potentially three subdivided office spaces within each of the building’s two floors.
Once beyond the rubble walls Grianan is revealed as a ‘perfect’ glazed pavilion set within a manicured parkland. The contrast created by the juxtaposition of modern and rustic elements and its realisation at a detailed level instils Grianan with a magical quality which is timeless and could be argued to have been inspirational to many architects since.
Photography : Keith Hunter; Scott McIntyre for NRS