Newsletter - Links - Advertise - Contact Us - Privacy

Squaring up to the Games

25 Jun 2009

Flush with success from the Scottish Design Awards, Reiach and Hall demonstrate they have an eye to the future with ambitious plans for Glasgow's premier civic space.<br/>

Flush with success from the Scottish Design Awards, Reiach and Hall demonstrate they have an eye to the future with ambitious plans for Glasgow's premier civic space.

Redevco and Reiach and Hall have submitted plans to Glasgow City Council for demolition and redevelopment of George House on George Square, Glasgow. The prestigious site will play host to restaurant, office and convention facilities in recognition of its strategic placing, particularly in regard to the upcoming Commonwealth Games whereupon the Square will become the focal point for public celebration.

Winner of a design competition for an Òiconic landmark buildingÓ, Reiach and Hall's scheme will replace existing dated office provision with some 27,000m? of floor space in accommodation more becoming to its context. The split level proposal combines a podium element conforming to the building datum around George Square prior to stepping up toward the College of Building and Printing in tower form. These portions are fused within a crystaline cloud element that sits over the lower roof working its way into a central atrium and expressed in elevation down to ground level, leaving a crystalline glass slot between lower and upper portions.
The George Street frontage is dressed in heavy limestone clad fin-like features which switch to slender anodised aluminium equivalents to the sides. A central atrium facing onto George Square bridges three office blocks with a grand public arcade leading to roof gardens and restaurant/bar facilities in an elevated pavilion space.  

The development maximises an under-developed site with a pleasing stepping stone symmetry of height in relation to the College of Building and Printing which in an ideal world would see the railway cutting bisecting both decked over as a public breal out space.
Subject to the necessary approvals it is hoped to have George House demolished by 2011 with its replacement ready for occupation in July 2014.

Gorgeous George?
George House's likely successor has set the forums abuzz with passionate debate, so what do the public think?

It's certainly presented with a beautiful poise; reminds me of Chipperfield but with a sure-footedness of its own (i.e. it's no mere pastiche!). It seems to demand a more detailed look than I've so far given it (i.e. scanning through all these images on a small laptop screen on a Sunday morning in western Romania). No first draft, this one... respect, dude
The grand public arcade leading to roof gardens and restaurant/bar looks spectacular, broadly inspired by a ÒgeodeÓ, an unpreposessing lump of rock that reveals crystaline veins of glass when shattered.
I think that presents issues externally though as from George St the facade is austere and regimented not radically improving upon the unremarkable George House, hampered further by a continued absence of street interaction. Instead the schemes high point, an organic lattice of glazing, is hidden from majority view on upper floors. Greater emphasis of this stand out feature from the street would be to the schemes benefit.

For a while I thought that the part of the building which sits on George Square itself was actually a retained remodelling of the existing building. But I'm inclined to trust this design team (whoever they are) to be well aware of the point you raise. And everything about the presentation indicates a subtlety of approach and in its built detail, may well raise this aspect of the design to an ennobling level that the same diagram in the hands of others wouldn't. Certainly, if these architects were to be, say, replaced with other architects after Planning and the whole constructed on a Design-Build contract, the scheme taken from this could... probably would be, an utter disaster. But that's generally the case if that happens.There's no parti that guarantees architecture. Ah, but Ôthe plan is the key', heh. Sure it is, but it doesn't make the door that the key unlocks, or the wall in which the door sits, or the room one enters into.

Back to June 2009

For more news from the industry visit our News section.
Subscribe to Urban Realm Magazine
Features & Reports
For more information from the industry visit our Features & Reports section.