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Bringing the new into the old

July 20th, 2023
Bringing the new into the old

From improved energy efficiency to low maintenance living, there are a number of benefits that come with buying a brand new home. As an architect, having a blank canvas to design new homes is very exciting and we really enjoy working with social housing and private sector home builders to design the best quality, value and living experience for future residents.

Whilst much of our focus continues to be on new properties, I also love working with older buildings to enhance their original features and bring them back to life.

Our architectural heritage is embedded throughout Glasgow, with many areas renowned for their magnificent 19th century buildings. In fact, tenements are still the most common form of home in Glasgow today. Amazingly, Hyndland in the West End is the only tenement conservation area in the UK, which brings to light the long-lasting love we have for our buildings and their history. Many homeowners still enjoy the authenticity and character that comes with living in a historic property. But nowadays, more are looking to alter their properties to reflect contemporary living. It is rewarding to bring a new lease of life to Victorian properties, re-adapting them to suit today’s day and age.

While new build homes offer flexibility and free reign from a design perspective, planning departments tend to be more conservative with listed properties. Despite this, I believe that we should express the new as new, and can still do so while being respectful of the original character and features that shine through in our 19th century homes.

What I believe makes George Buchanan Architects stand out is that we don’t aim to “blend in”. We very much see our work as marking a new milestone in the journey of these buildings, and embrace bringing the old and the new together to showcase their progression throughout the years.
One of our most recent projects at Cleveden Road in the West End was the design of a contemporary extension and renovation work to a B-Listed tenement flat.

We closely listened to the needs of our client and opted for a modern flat-roof extension. Its contemporary design is a noticeable contrast to the Victorian architecture of the main home. Boasting a modern zinc exterior with large bright openings to make use of the natural light, it very much creates its own 21st century identity, whilst also enhancing the functionality of the traditional home.

We also took a modern flat-roof approach for a recent project at Westbourne Gardens, involving an extension and substantial alteration work to a Victorian townhouse. As a family home, the building was no longer fit for purpose with various spaces not working with the flow of the house. The lower ground floor level, which previously would have comprised maids quarters, a small pantry and scullery, was re-designed to create an attractive open-plan kitchen and living area. This seamlessly connects with the outdoor garden space, providing an attractive multifunctional space at the heart of the home. Whilst we’ve introduced a newer feel to part of the building, the original character is kept alive through its internal period features such as staircases, cornices and ceiling roses, creating a stunning combination of old and new.

It’s important to recognise that we’re now living in a different era from the 1800s and the way we use our homes has seen a dramatic change. People need space to work from home, entertain guests and cater to day-to-day family life. As a result, enlarged kitchen, dining and living areas combined with oversized windows to amplify natural daylight are prevalent across many of our projects. Whether working with new home builders or with a client on a traditional property, we always aim to design homes that offer flexible living and create a feeling of togetherness between indoor and outdoor spaces.

While demand for new homes continues, there are still many opportunities to breathe new life into period properties. There is something nostalgic and deeply fulfilling about enhancing the rich architectural heritage around us and playing a part in the continued legacy of Glasgow’s well-loved homes.

Westbourne Gardens - Iain Maclean Photography

Cleveden Road - Ross Campbell Photographer

Bringing the new into the old

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