Eight high-rises in Aberdeen have been tipped for category A-listed status.
The tower blocks would stand alongside the city’s Marischal College, King’s College and the Music Hall if granted the top listed building category – meaning they are buildings of national or international importance.
It comes after a request was made to Historic Environment Scotland (HES) in August asking them to consider the listing of Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court, Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court, Greig Court, Gilcomstoun Land and Porthill Court.
In recommending all eight buildings for A-listed status, HSE says they are “among the most coherent and architecturally distinguished groups of brutalist flats in Scotland”.
However, critics have raised concerns the listed building status could be used as an “excuse” not to meet modern standards.
Brutalist architecture is a style that emerged in the 1950s and is characterised by its “blocky” appearance and large-scale use of concrete.
In the newly-released report, HES also praises the buildings as giving an understanding of “the most architecturally ambitious and successful public housing programmes of the post-war regeneration of Aberdeen”.
If granted the A-listed status, the concrete tower blocks would be regarded as more important than category B-listed buildings, which includes several parts of Edinburgh Castle.
The recommendation comes as a consultation on the proposals continues until November 24, with a final decision yet to be made by the conservation body.
Councillor Michael Hutchison, who represents George Street and Harbour, said: “I think many folk will be surprised these buildings could receive category A-listings alongside ‘buildings of national or international importance’.
“Especially when you consider that even some parts of Edinburgh Castle are only B-listed.
“My biggest concern throughout this remains that this cannot be allowed to become an excuse not to ensure these homes meet modern standards.
“Proposing these buildings for category A-listed status makes me worry about that even more.”
However, Professor Miles Glendinning, director of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies, who lodged the request, said the Granite City does not need to use Edinburgh buildings to “judge the worth of its own heritage”.
He added: “Nor do I agree that a building has to be very old to be of national or international importance. Post-war buildings are increasingly attracting more attention and more public enthusiasm than traditional old buildings.
“Within this booming area of interest in post-war architecture, Aberdeen has something Edinburgh doesn’t and I think it’s worthy of category A.”
Prof Glendinning added that listed building status is not intended to stop householders from “doing things”, adding grants may be available to the council if the move goes ahead.
He added: “There are real advantages in listing.
“Listed buildings on the whole tend to be better maintained than an average non-listed building.”
Meanwhile, a property industry insider told the Evening Express it was “unlikely” the move would bump up property values in the respective tower blocks, adding maintenance costs would increase as a result.
The source also spoke of their “surprise” at the move, claiming the council is in the process of buying back a number of these properties from private owners due to a shortage in housing supply for council tenants.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
The insider said: “As the council still owns some of the flats in the building they tend to organise the repairs in any event, so making them category A-listed seems to only be increasing their own costs.”
The report says the new high-rise developments were largely aimed at rehousing people who previously lived in “sub-standard” accommodation into “modern healthy homes”.
A spokesman for Historic Environment said a consultation on the proposal remains ongoing until November 24.
He added: “We would then gather all the information and make an informed decision.”