‘A great city has been defaced’: why has a poo emoji arrived on Edinburgh’s skyline?

With its spires, castle and monuments, the Scottish capital’s glorious panorama is world famous. Now a looming new addition has appeared – and is causing outrage You can’t polish a turd, but you can clad it in bronze-coloured steel. Edinburgh’s new W Hotel is proof. Poking its faecal peak above the historic skyline, puncturing the globally cherished panorama of elegant stone steeples and spires, this shimmering pile is evidence that, despite all the Unesco World Heritage site protections, conservation group campaigns and lengthy planning negotiations, shit still happens. Trumpeting the arrival of the £1bn St James Quarter retail-hotel-housing behemoth to the Georgian New Town, the bronzed coil now butts on to the horizon from practically every prospect of the Scottish capital. From some angles, it appears to squat on other buildings’ shoulders, like an unfortunate deposit dropped from on high. From others, it looms up in the background, standing as a menacing dung heap at the end of axial vistas (perhaps appropriately in the case of the Melville monument, providing a soiled backdrop to a man who delayed the abolition of slavery). Just when you thought you’d evaded the gilded mess, its pert tip rears up above the rooftops with a mocking flick. The building’s architects, London firm Jestico + Whiles, had other references in mind. Their planning application included images of an haute couture blindfold by Valentino, its silken ribbons billowing above a model’s head. There were also pictures of big rolls of paper in the printing presses that used to populate this part of town, to tick the “local context” box. The form of the Edinburgh-born Walnut Whip chocolate snack has been mentioned, too, along with a spiral of orange peel, and even an iced cupcake – anything to distract the scatological mind. A campaign was launched to complete the picture and put 'googly eyes oan the jobby' Related: Why are our cities built for 6ft-tall men? The female architects who fought back Continue reading...

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