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Backpacker Hostel at 70/71 High Street, Gardyne's Land, Dundee

You may find some strange things in Dundee's High Street. Oor Wullie for instance. Such meetings remind you of the city's cultural history and add to the ambience of its urban spaces. As for architecture there is a great deal of interest. This is one of the oldest buildings.

What is now the backpackers hostel was built as a successful merchant's house. It is also known as Gray's Close and Gardyne's House.

Canmore tells us that it is a remarkable survivor in the centre of the city. The frontage is from the 17th century with alterations thought to be from the 18th century. It was little changed until 2005-7 when it underwent the conversion to what you see here today. This was not taken lightly, but the building was becoming ruinous. This imaginative restoration / conversion was accomplished by the Tayside Buildings Preservation Trust with Simpson and Brown Architects . Although the facilities are modern, visitors are constantly aware of being in a historic old building.

I have a fascination for streetscapes comprising contrasting buildings that form an eclectic unity without conflicting intervention. Here my photograph shows 3 very different façades. The orange one on the left is the backpackers hostel.

To the left you get a glimpse of the clock from 1932 surmounted by a model of the 1731 Dundee Town House designed by William Adam.



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