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6 December 2023

Tollcross Fire Station listed as a major example of postmodern architecture 

Exterior view of Tollcross Fire Station, an impressive building with large red doors
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has designated Tollcross Fire Station as a listed building at Category B.
Located in Edinburgh city centre, the building has been listed for its significance as a major example of postmodern (PoMo) architecture in Scotland. During its analysis, HES concluded that Tollcross Fire Station was unique amongst contemporary stations from the later 20th century for its exceptional architectural quality, combining the demands of a modern fire station with a thoughtful response to its compact urban site. The building combines a bold and innovative design with traditional materials and references to historical Scottish architecture in a playful and artistic way.
Tollcross Fire Station opened in 1986, replacing the Fire Service’s previous Lauriston headquarters, and remains an operational fire station. The new building was designed by Wick-born architect Donald William Bain, who worked with Lothian Regional Council Department of Architectural Services and on the development of Livingston during the 1960s. The relief sculpture mounted on the front of the building was the result of a design competition, and the winning design was by a then-third-year student at Edinburgh College of Art, David Roxburgh.
Dara Parsons, Head of Designations at HES, said:
The Tollcross Fire Station is one of Scotland’s major contributions to the postmodern style, and it is one of the best examples we have of this architectural style which is rare in Scotland.
“It now joins a very select few other notable buildings of the same era on the list of Scotland’s most important buildings, such as the Dundee Repertory Theatre and Princes Square in Glasgow.
“Anyone can propose a building for listing via our website. We are currently being asked to consider more of the buildings of the later modern period as recent as the late 1980s, as their architectural quality and contribution to our social and economic history is increasingly recognised.”
More information on Tollcross Fire Station and can be found on the Historic Environment Portal.
Find out more about the listing process.

About Listed Buildings 

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Listing is intended to ensure that what is special about a structure is taken into account in decisions about its future.
How we make decisions about listing is set out in the Designations Policy and Selection Guidance.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. It is at the forefront of researching and understanding the historic environment and addressing the impacts of climate change on its future, investigating and recording architectural and archaeological sites and landscapes across Scotland and caring for more than 300 properties of national importance. We are also the lead on delivering Scotland's strategy for the historic environment, Our Past, Our Future.
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For further information, please contact:

Robin Kepple
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962