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Keppie detail St Vincent Plaza plans

November 23 2011

Keppie detail St Vincent Plaza plans
With speculative development all but having dried up during the past three years of drought, Urban Realm spoke to Keppie Design to find out a little bit more about Saint Vincent Plaza - a scheme which promises to breathe a little confidence into a moribund market.

Responding to queries as to the nature of an ‘internet shopping hub’ Keppie director Richard MacDonald said: “People today do a lot of shopping on the internet and they need space to collect groceries and purchases. Our intention is to build that facility into the building so that the users don’t have to worry about having to be somewhere or be home to collect goods.

“There may be a chill room as well. We want to make sure that this building has additional attributes which make it more attractive to corporates.”

Explaining the decision to revamp Archial’s consented design MacDonald commented: “The previous scheme was quite a complex building to build and was probably a costly building to construct with its undercroft and various facets , angles and elements.

“We sought to create a building which was more along the lines of Aurora or 141 Bothwell Street with recognisable rectilinear floorplates that are more attractive to corporates. We needed to build efficiencies into the design and take the pressure off the site a little bit because it was quite pressured in terms of density.

“It really was an instruction from our client to consider an approach which was perhaps more austere and which would enable us to concentrate on a higher quality of envelope material. The economic situation is affecting all aspects of design and we need to design buildings extremely efficiently to make them viable.”

A stand out element of the design is a cantilevered projection fronting onto Elmbank Street, a feature which is more than just a flight of fancy: “It’s not a standard plot in the grid iron – it’s exposed to the western edge, therefore we do have to have elements which relate to various views and various approaches”, stressed MacDonald.

“The projection to the north is a direct reference point that recognises the desire route from Elmbank Street and the new pedestrian access down to William Street. We also cantilevered the front of the building to ensure that there was a subtle presence that would oversail the western element of the Santander building - so it’s a double device.”

Commenting on this new public space MacDonald enthused: “It’s going to be a well-lit, 20m wide, pedestrian route using well designed, high quality materials and some form of landscaping - almost a modern version of the steps at Park Gardens in the west end. It’s a functional route that will link William Street with the Hilton hotel and Anderston Station.”

Developers Abstract confidently predict a Spring start on site although Elphinstone’s crater opposite graphically illustrates the perilous route from planning to actual construction.
Pedestrian access to William Street will be carved through a former gym and car park
Pedestrian access to William Street will be carved through a former gym and car park


#1 Posted by jj on 23 Nov 2011 at 09:46 AM
Internet Storage Hub = Big Cupboard, possibly with a fridge in it.
#2 Posted by Stuart on 23 Nov 2011 at 10:12 AM
Good God! Another cliched vegetable soup of a building from Keppie.
#3 Posted by kk on 23 Nov 2011 at 11:05 AM
I really like it. Well done, Keppie!
#4 Posted by Stuart on 23 Nov 2011 at 11:22 AM
#3 which are you then
1 Mr R MacDonald
2 Glasgow City Councillor
3 Mental
#5 Posted by Brian on 23 Nov 2011 at 11:34 AM
Its soooo boring.come on lets do something a bit more imaginative that reflects could be anywhere.
No such luck
#6 Posted by No such luck on 23 Nov 2011 at 11:38 AM
Unfortunately though it is planned for Glasgow.
#7 Posted by Mask on 23 Nov 2011 at 17:09 PM
to all of the above, get a life!
#8 Posted by op on 23 Nov 2011 at 20:42 PM
Just be positive someone has done some good work here, I really like it too. Yeah and get a life, and I am wondering what is the thing that is so imaginative that reflects Glasgow??? pubs??
Bella MagLinchey
#9 Posted by Bella MagLinchey on 23 Nov 2011 at 22:20 PM

In your opinion pubs reflect Glasgow? Can I ask -- are you blind? Did your wee eyes not see all that grand Victorian architecture, rational streetscapes, beautifully articulated forms etc.What about some of the fine example of office buildings that Glasgow has -- Capella etc.

Yep, use a crude remark to disguise your own lack of intelligence.
bobby brown
#10 Posted by bobby brown on 23 Nov 2011 at 23:04 PM
Oh yes Capella... thats another completely glasgow site specific speculative office development. Sorry but you guys are just a joke.

Move on to real architectural criticism.

Or shall we accept that Urban Realm is just another useless flame blog that really exists just for some over inflated ego's to anonymously rip into everyone elses work.

Victorian architecture? I guess you're part of the Prince Charles fan club. Open your wee eyes and perhaps appreciate that we arent in victorian times.
#11 Posted by Jimmy on 23 Nov 2011 at 23:06 PM
Yep lets build modern Viktorian offices, and new historical buildings ..... Great :)
Bella MacGlinchey
#12 Posted by Bella MacGlinchey on 24 Nov 2011 at 00:03 AM
@bobby brown -- no-one said it was "Glasgow specific". Merely that is was a quality office building part of a wider culture of quality Glasgow architecture. Learn to read or go to Specsavers or even do both. And as for that jibe about Prince Charles -- sadly I'm not a part of his group but I would be honoured to be.Are you part of the 'if it's built before 1960 and doesn't contain asbestos it must be sh*t brigade'? Open my eyes? -- this from you who can't read? You have extrapolated a defence/argument based on not getting what I was saying.

@Jimmy : No, I don't think building Victorian office buildings is ideal. Sorry to burst that Idea Jimmy.But certain historical recreations is an idea I support in certain areas. This isn't one. But lets refute lazy slurs such as Glasgow's 'architectural pedigree' is limited to pubs. That's just wrong.

P.S Jimmy, Victorian is spelt with a 'c' and not a 'k'. I know your spelling can suffer when you're in the throws of trying to make a humorous post.
#13 Posted by Bhoy on 24 Nov 2011 at 01:21 AM
This building is fantastic
#14 Posted by urbanrealm on 24 Nov 2011 at 09:39 AM
A general housekeeping reminder: Please remember to respect the opinion of others and refrain from the use of coarse language.

Criticism is welcome but please keep it constructive.

Back to Saint Vincent Plaza...
bobby brown
#15 Posted by bobby brown on 24 Nov 2011 at 17:32 PM
Ah Bella. So sad. Move up from the whole specsavers, cant read, cant spell slurs. Urban realm should be about architecture. Step out of the gutter for a while and join a real debate. You're extrapolating asumptions about me without much thought either and it just makes you look petty. Having a go at op or Jimmy just because you dont agree is low.

I never said this building was good or bad for glasgow. To be honest I dont think we can say how it compares to Capella untill it's finished. One glass box vs another. Why do you think Capella is a more appropriate office development worthy of high regard in Glasgow?

But grats to the developer and Keppie for trying to do something with an otherwise ugly and useless site in glasgow.
#16 Posted by Polis on 24 Nov 2011 at 19:04 PM
#14 - do more of this urban realm, be ruthless, delete stupid posts (hopefully this one will go too), enforce critique that is centred purely on the building and offers something....

there are sites that operate in this way, do it successfully and are hugely better resources for it. you publish lots of decent info, that is often ruined by silly comments - that is the real shame in my view.
#17 Posted by Skip on 24 Nov 2011 at 23:01 PM
The building makes a strong positive contribution to the area with a design that has considered the immediate surroundings as well as a nod to other aspects of Glasgow. I like it. Let me work there.
#18 Posted by Stuart on 25 Nov 2011 at 06:17 AM
No it does not and no amount of Keppie employees or mates of the architect will make it so. It has been designed one elevation at at time using a hotch potch combination of the most cliched architectural pattern making of the last ten years in a thoroughly uncontrolled way. There is no discipline or control applied to it.

and the kitchen sink
#19 Posted by and the kitchen sink on 25 Nov 2011 at 07:33 AM
Agreed. In almost any other place this building could be tolerated, as one of a number of poorly thought through buildings in Glasgow. It will receive planning permission no doubt but will always remain prime site about to be ruined by a third rate building, sadly. It's time Keppie employes some decent designers.
#20 Posted by Neil on 25 Nov 2011 at 08:53 AM
Could be a lot worse... certainly an improvement on Keppie's overcooked noughties contributions to Broomielaw. Bit of a vegetable soup indeed, but then that's par for the course with them, isn't it?
#21 Posted by tim on 25 Nov 2011 at 10:50 AM
there are numerous buildings which look very similar to this (in material, articulation and fenestration) all over scotlands cities (not just glasgow...indeed not just scotland), and whilst this probably will fall far short of being the worst, i cant iamgine that it will add anything positive to the urban realm or glasgows cityscape. i truly dont know if it is all / partly / or not at all down ot the quality of the architects working on the project? (happy to get some replies on this).....if the same commision, brief, client and budget went to elder and cannon would it be inherently beeter. I think somewhat, but the process is also at fault (i think) : 20 -30% of the god damn miserly budget goes on technical services (electrical, mechanical, et al).......... inreal terms i think many corporate clients are allowed to build way to cheap buildings in our cities, i understand there is an social/economic imperative, but com on....we are building buildings that will last 30 years if they are lucky....wheres the true value in that. I do think that that architects are culpable in the pretty defenceless 'have a go with something modern and shiny' attitude which is pretty rife amongst many. If reasonable, but not particularly skillful practices, with short deadlines due to small fees were only to limit their pallette and adopt basic rules of proportion then at least these building might not offend. This is not a call for historicism (far from it) but ther idea that every architect has the talent to design a facade whilst ignoring long established rules of proportion, etc. is either blind arrogance or laziness to realise the responsibility (and opportunity) you have been given.
Apologies for such a long winded comment.........but amongst the commentators of urban realm i know there are many who could continue this debate in a more articulate manner then i have above....
#22 Posted by Mike on 29 Nov 2011 at 08:39 AM
This has nothing to do with it being Glasgow, it could be Timbuktu. The point of this is to focus on urban landscaping, accessing and ease for the public to use and with this, give the area a facelift to boot. Anyone on here with comments specificall directed at the design of the building, please re-visit your particular the part where you were supposed to have studied architecture, other than that, please keep your comments constructive.
#23 Posted by Rossco on 9 Jan 2012 at 21:57 PM
Christ, are Keppie trying to reinvigorate 70's architecture with this one. Looks like the ugly bastard son of the Quartermile. Bland doesn't even begin to summarise it.

The walkway, i can see that becoming a crack den with nothing to activate it and protect its users. Where's the equal access? and what in gods name are those big walls/steps all about. What use are they other than to block folks views down the walkway and offer hiding spots for budding criminals. Much like many of Glasgows 'landmark buildings', disappointing.

@22 Mike. Seriously. You think its just about the architecture of an individual building. How about context, townscape the public realm, we need some exciting experiences in the street, rather than, 'oh, there's another quirky office building'. Never mind architecture, you need some 'real' design training..
#24 Posted by Rossco on 9 Jan 2012 at 22:00 PM
Btw, mike, dont take that as a personal attack, I see the same blinkered attitude every day.
#25 Posted by Stuart on 10 Jan 2012 at 10:12 AM
Talking about dreadful Landmark Buildings. St Andrews House conversion on the corner of West Nile and Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow by Ryder is a dog's breakfast and I don't mean Pedigree Chum.

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