Unfeasibly cramped site (Douglas Young)

While your news team were no doubt relaxing over the weekend, you missed an exclusive story, scooped up by Shetland News, written by Pete Bevington, on the interior of Mareel.

Coming hot on the heels of the publication of my letter in your paper on Friday concerning the questioning of a member of the public taking exterior photos of the building, the story broke on to Facebook on Sunday. While you will not be able to print the first reaction to the article, a great deal was learnt about the architects managing to “look up” when designing the building on a small “footprint”. For those of you with little building design knowledge, this means an unfeasibly large building on a cramped site.

Had you been invited, you might have asked innocently ignorant questions like: “Are you sure that roof is strong enough?”; “Why are your windows so heavy that there is only one crane in Shetland able to lift it, which is busy, and potential delays to the entire project could result – because Shetland is windy?”; “Are you sure all this welded metal construction will last more than 20 years without rusting to bits?”; and “How did you persuade the SIC that selling alcohol as part of the business plan on a sea-edge site is safe after a similar plan to convert the building now housing Shetland Amenity Trust was thrown out due to the potential for intoxicated lemmings hurling themselves into the harbour?”

On a positive note, congratulations are due to Redman + Sutherland on its award for designing yet another durable, eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing and eminently useful building, for the Shetland climate, as reported in your newspaper on Friday. Imagine what might have been if those architects had drawn up plans for a music/cinema venue in Lerwick.

Douglas Young


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