This is Tayside House, one of Dundee’s most notable buildings, currently undergoing demolition. It was completed in 1975 to house the headquarters of Tayside Regional Council, then Dundee City Council. As brutalism declined in popularity as an architectural style, Tayside House came to be decried as an eyesore.
It is / was positioned near the city centre and right in the eyeline of the traffic coming across the Tay Road Bridge. Whether you liked it or not, it was certainly one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.
Currently it provides a particularly entertaining spectacle as part of the ongoing project to improve the Dundee Waterfront. There is a high reach demolition machine ripping pieces off, bit by bit. The building couldn’t be detonated due to the railway tunnel that runs directly underneath. As I travel home from work, it’s tempting to take my eyes off the road and watch the slow demolition taking place.
Yesterday I took a wander down to look at it up close. There is something quite fascinating about seeing a building being slowly taken down. It’s like peering into the building’s soul. You glimpse its secrets. You see it in a way that was never anticipated by its architects, crumbling and exposed.
In a few months, there will be nothing left of it at all.
A 30 minute walk away up the hill, another pair of skyscrapers that punctuate Dundee’s skyline will disappear in the next few weeks. Preparations for the detonation of Bucklemaker Court and Butterburn Court have been under way for several months. For the time being, they are Dundee’s tallest buildings. The plunger will go down on 30 June.
I am more sympathetic to buildings of this style than most. But there is no doubting that it is an exciting time to be in Dundee. Since moving here, I have been struck by how much it feels like a city on the up. They know what they want to do to improve the city’s image, and they’re doing whatever it takes to do it.