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Scottish Opera shares towering New Rotterdam Wharf vision

April 3 2024

Scottish Opera shares towering New Rotterdam Wharf vision

Scottish Opera has shared its final vision for a new headquarters at New Rotterdam Wharf, Glasgow, the site of the former Port Dundas Power Station.

The performing arts organisation has engaged Page/Park to oversee designs for the canalside site that combine a display and rehearsal space with purpose-built student accommodation.

Complementing ongoing regeneration at Sighthill, Dundashill and Hamiltonhill the proposed works would transform the current industrial estate into a mixed urban block bookended by angular twin towers.

In their design statement Page/Park wrote: "To the north and south, two student accommodation blocks (PBSA) are proposed, with stepping scales, effectively ‘book ending’ the site and providing activated frontages to all four corners of the plot. Pended access under each PBSA block provides access to two internal courtyards providing service and visitor access to the Scottish Opera building.

"New broad feature steps at both the north and south ends of the site provide connection between the ends of Sawmillfield St and Corn Street, connecting up to the canal edge."

Two new pavilion buildings will sit in the centre of the site, overlooking the canal towpath, with the bulk of Scottish Opera's operations taking place within a shared plinth below.

The project will be set within a stepped landscape of courtyards, terraces and a walled garden overseen by HarrisonStevens.

The existing Scottish Opera building will be overclad to improve environmental performance and cosmetics
The existing Scottish Opera building will be overclad to improve environmental performance and cosmetics
The glulam structural timber pavilions will offer flexible display space
The glulam structural timber pavilions will offer flexible display space

The studio pavilion is confgurable as an outdoor performance space
The studio pavilion is confgurable as an outdoor performance space
Two 'gang planks' will connect to matching sculptural pavilions
Two 'gang planks' will connect to matching sculptural pavilions


#1 Posted by Mark on 3 Apr 2024 at 13:03 PM
The towers look like prison blocks from a dystopian movie.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#2 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 3 Apr 2024 at 13:16 PM
Loving the Meadowside Granary design vibe -- maybe just in the wrong place.

ScO -- you have to admire their ambition even if the pavilions and the associated performance space struggle to deal with the canal or the Glesga weather. Some form of winter-garden would be much more useful and inviting plus it would the gull wing monstrosity of a roof that is currently on show x 2.
#3 Posted by Boke on 3 Apr 2024 at 14:44 PM
Man that's U.G.L.Y
Would have expected better from P&P
#4 Posted by Roddy_ on 3 Apr 2024 at 15:15 PM
A visually incoherent jumble of incongruous forms to add to the long, impentrable sheds.

I'm in agreement with #1. They look like the prisons you sometimes see in downtown America - literally - the big, tall hoose with the wee windaes.

Stallan Brand's effort was way off the mark and so is this. Mis-scaled and mean and not really addressing the canalside context. It has a Brutal and sterile academic quality - one can see where the real influence was coming from;Braid Square.

P/P are decent architects that have inserted some good, modern stuff into historic contexts, this is not one of them.

If the Planning Committee are sticking to the principles of the previous refusal then this deserves to be knocked back too.

It should be remembered that there was a masterplan for this area, which if memory serves, did not include any towers but which has long since been jettisoned in favour of a lassez-faire approach. With no proper rules or guidance - we inevitably get this kind of stuff.
#5 Posted by Peter on 3 Apr 2024 at 16:07 PM
Red Road called and wanted its rubbish towers back.
#6 Posted by Fatboy on 4 Apr 2024 at 09:20 AM
I dunno…. I think this is quite clever. You are right #4, there was a masterplan for the site by 7N but the only thing to come of that I think was some giant red flowers under the motorway - which have now been removed! The masterplan did include towers though along the canal edge setting up a principle of maintaining views between the vertical elements to and from Spiers Wharf. The masterplan was hopelessly uncommercial however….which is why nothing has come of it. P&P seem to have taken the principles and maintained the views as much as possible. The height seems to be similar to Stallan Brand’s refused scheme, which surely is an indication that this is what is needed to make development in this location stack up commercially. The difference between them though is that SB’s scheme filled the boots of developers, whilst P&Ps I presume enables ScO to self fund an arts development offering something back to the city. Good luck to them I say! This deserves support…and btw….I like the brick! Look at the Whiskey Bond 100yds up the canal. At least PP have had an idea and had the balls to go for it.
The Heart of Saturday Night
#7 Posted by The Heart of Saturday Night on 4 Apr 2024 at 09:35 AM
Not loving it.

The towers remind me of that naff student block opposite the BMW garage on North Hanover Street.

Pretty disappointing in terms of relation with the canal, I would have hoped that there'd be a bit more cognisance taken of this as it all appears pretty inward looking.
#8 Posted by Ben on 4 Apr 2024 at 10:27 AM
Whilst it will be good to see development along the canal edge and boosting the population in this part of the city, the massing and scale just seems all wrong to me.
The towers look quite elegant, but they would be better suited for one of the Clydeside sites, or even somewhere in the city centre. Surely a better solution here would have been to match the scale and massing of the Spiers Wharf warehouse apartments on the other side of the canal and fill the whole of the canal frontage at maybe 7 or 8 storeys.
Annie Malone
#9 Posted by Annie Malone on 4 Apr 2024 at 13:03 PM
Yep, def getting Red Road vibes from this
#10 Posted by Peter on 5 Apr 2024 at 10:59 AM
On the other hand, can we move Opera shed to suburbs/eastkilbrides where it belongs, and use the vacated land for designing a nice, people friendly, canal addressing, thriving neighborhood? Why is it that hard?
#11 Posted by Lovely on 5 Apr 2024 at 12:20 PM
Which is the before and which is the after?
Tammy Scoosh
#12 Posted by Tammy Scoosh on 5 Apr 2024 at 12:25 PM
This could be a lovely set of towers if detailed well. Nail the stepping and rhythm of the brick. Keep it simple.
The theatre element looks interesting, very P\P esc. I'd be surprised if this was turned down - it solves many constraints of the site and the P\P ScO combo is quite a strong one from past examples.
#13 Posted by Roddy_ on 5 Apr 2024 at 14:21 PM
For all the architecture students out there agonising over whether their designs adequately address context , scale and materiality or whether their parti is the correct trajectory, this is proof positive that even the most august, seasoned professionals get it wrong. Not just a bit wrong, but very wrong.
D to the R
#14 Posted by D to the R on 8 Apr 2024 at 13:17 PM
#10 - I agree this is not the site for ScO anymore .. sell it on for housing and resi and make it work. Too many competing uses here.
Neil C
#15 Posted by Neil C on 8 Apr 2024 at 18:01 PM
and for all the seasoned professionals out there don't take anything written anonymously here seriously, if at all. They always get it wrong, not just a bit wrong.
#16 Posted by Terra_ on 10 Apr 2024 at 03:06 AM
I'm all for this development in principle.
honestly though;
they could have included better renders...
#17 Posted by Parkguy61 on 12 Apr 2024 at 12:15 PM
Hasn't the city been demolishing tower blocks just like those in the image?

A whole facade facing south and not a single balcony for the residents.

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