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Climate emergency spells changes for consented Glasgow office block

January 9 2023

Climate emergency spells changes for consented Glasgow office block

Cooper Cromar Architects have taken the reins at a prominent site in Glasgow city centre as part of a pivot from build-to-rent apartments back to office space.

Varsity Developments propose to retain the current listed building at 64-72 Waterloo Street and demolish the remainder in the latest evolution of a Bennetts design that has been going through the planning system since 2016.

Since acquiring the site Varsity has conducted a design review which questions the deliverability and sustainability of a predominately glazed facade as well as high levels of embodied carbon contained within a corten steel frame.

Citing the climate emergency as grounds for a rethink the architects wrote: "The building Filigree is formed in non-unitised Corten Steel, which uses significant embodied carbon, is unlikely to provide substantial solar shading relative to its carbon footprint, and cannot be constructed as an efficient and quality Unitised curtain walling system.

"In addition, the consented facade design creates significant structural challenges. In addition to the unnecessary embodied carbon, the structural arrangement shown on the consented façade design would cause buildability and programming issues, as the elevational steelwork would require to be craned into position following the installation of the curtain walling."

In response, the proportion of glazing will be reduced from 80-90% to less than 60% and a redundant facade layer removed entirely to simplify the build. In its place, an aluminium curtain walling system is proposed for ease of maintenance.  

The revamped scheme seeks to adhere as closely as possible to the existing consent
The revamped scheme seeks to adhere as closely as possible to the existing consent


#1 Posted by pooka on 9 Jan 2023 at 15:16 PM
go on - add a few more storeys - make it even more overscaled and inappropriate
#2 Posted by Roddy_ on 9 Jan 2023 at 15:48 PM
And so the design quality of yet another commercial block in Glasgow falls apart in the face of value engineering.
I suppose the question to ask of the developer is why progress the design to the point of planning consent if there are so many deliverability/structural/heat gain/carbon/buildability/maintenance/material choice issues? Seems unwise.
Have Bennetts Associates been approached for comment ?
#3 Posted by Boaby_ on 10 Jan 2023 at 09:01 AM
It looks fine !
ignore those that's only ability to vent their inadequacies is here now as they have been bombed out of Skyscrapercity
John Glenday
#4 Posted by John Glenday on 10 Jan 2023 at 12:44 PM
@2 Nothing quotable sadly! Design work for this project stretches all the way back to 2011 so a degree of updating was inevitable.

The question is whether the facade can be treated in isolation from the main structure. The maths behind potential CO2 savings is also open to question, especially as polyester powder coated aluminium carries its own carbon cost.
FLW's Ghost
#5 Posted by FLW's Ghost on 10 Jan 2023 at 13:33 PM
So Boaby_, how long have you worked at Cooper Cromar?
#6 Posted by Roddy_ on 10 Jan 2023 at 13:54 PM
Nice to see that you are still a follower. Keep up the good work.
#7 Posted by Roddy_ on 10 Jan 2023 at 15:06 PM
I guess we'll get a good idea of the move from Corten to PPC steel given that we have both as precedent at the main corner of Buchanan Wharf. And also the threshold of material quality that City Design will tolerate in the CCA (it was prettty low anyway).,-4.2640771,96a,35y,150.96h,39.57t/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-GB
#8 Posted by Ron on 10 Jan 2023 at 17:39 PM
Looks good
#9 Posted by alibi on 11 Jan 2023 at 10:43 AM
surprised they've provided that first visualisation of the scaffolding
#10 Posted by E=mc2 on 11 Jan 2023 at 21:10 PM
Oh dear. Definition of Cooper Cromar in the dictionary is 'mediocre quantity over maximum quality'

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