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Student residences planned for redundant Glasgow office block

February 1 2012

Student residences planned for redundant Glasgow office block
Haa Design is pursuing a change of use application for a redundant office property on Glasgow’s Bath Street by transforming it into 91 new student residences.

This will entail retention of the existing façade of brick and stone on sustainability grounds - but with replacement aluminium windows and coloured window bays.

A rooftop extension is also planned to increase capacity and remove the abrupt eaves line of the property by mimicking the mansard roof and dormer windows of adjoining properties.

In their design statement Haa explain: “We believe the building has a very abrupt termination that does not match the general character of the area. The notion that buildings should have a distinct bottom, middle and top is a significant visual characteristic across much of the city centre.

“We believe that providing the facades with a visual ‘top’ will create a better link to this general visual language.”

The resulting sawtooth profile is said to lend itself to the ready installation of solar panels.

A rear setback housing basement vehicular access will be infilled out to the main building line as basement parking provision is being removed.

The £1.8m scheme is being financed by Speyroc Ltd.
The property as it exists currently
The property as it exists currently


#1 Posted by Chris on 1 Feb 2012 at 21:14 PM
"Lets make a rather dull building even worse by adding multi-coloured panels and a fugly roof extension."
#2 Posted by Sven on 2 Feb 2012 at 08:17 AM
Honestly, more student accommodation? How much does the town centre need? It is too far east for Glasgow students and most Glas-Cal and Strathclyde students are locals, so is there demand for all the planned developments?
david nimmo
#3 Posted by david nimmo on 2 Feb 2012 at 12:06 PM
Yes there is a lot of it, but our major universities have been changing from local to international institutions, which is a fundamental shift. I am only sorry that few if any of the projects are calculated to create much sense of community among students. Cambridge has King's College, not to say Andy and Isi's Robinson College, and the rest. We have what looks like social housing along Kelvinhaugh Road. It isn't terribly ambitious.
#4 Posted by worrier on 2 Feb 2012 at 13:15 PM
glasgow will end up a ghost town during the summer if they persist with building student accomodation, a city needs more than students (who pay no council tax and aren't full time residents)
david nimmo
#5 Posted by david nimmo on 2 Feb 2012 at 17:38 PM
Surely that is the nature of a diverse city centre? Plus when the office market improves it will reduce the overhang of empty low grade offices and promote development. In the summer it becomes low cost conference accommodation. The worst that can happen is they never fit the solar panels. What's not to like?
#6 Posted by worrier on 2 Feb 2012 at 17:47 PM
how will only building student accomodation create any kind of diversity?
also, adding strain to glasgow's terrific travel infrastucture whilst not contributing anything in the way of council tax can't be a good thing, especially when these properties will likely be empty for a significant part of the year, hardly a major contribution to a city centre...
#7 Posted by relaxed on 3 Feb 2012 at 09:31 AM
@worrier students don't pay council tax, but they do contribute alot to the economy. They dont add too much to the travel infrastructure cause they are more likely to use public transport or walk. And the Student accommodation companies aren't stupid: an empty property looses them money- during the summer they rent them out to tourists.

At worst, its a similar contribution to the city centre to an office block, however I would argue its much better, as it creates 24 hour use instead of just 9-5, and keeps noisey students away from working families (and not too far from the pubs).
Up the back of the lecture theatre
#8 Posted by Up the back of the lecture theatre on 3 Feb 2012 at 10:59 AM
Traffic? It's car free. Empty during summer? Many of these developments are geared towards students from abroad, a higher proportion of whom are doing post grads, which tend to be year round courses. Students from abroad are also more likely to be around during other holidays, because they go home less. All these general positives aside … the roof's weird looking on the W C St facade and those coloured panels are an optical illusion. There’s some amount of archi-waffle in the architect’s justification above too, I'm coming out in a rash just from reading it!!
#9 Posted by dirige on 3 Feb 2012 at 11:18 AM
relaxed: "but they do contribute alot to the economy", ...but what about architecture students? ;)

There does seem to be some kind of burst in student accommodation coinciding with the turnturn of the construction industry. Maybe there is some kind of strange funding policy that universities are able to exploit by building more student housing?
3D image looks really clumsy.
#10 Posted by relaxed on 3 Feb 2012 at 12:15 PM
@ dirige- I dont actually think its the universities that are building them- its private companies, who then rent to individual students (often foreign), or block-rent to universities who guarantee a bed for every first year, but dont want the expense/risk of building more halls of residences.

Certainly in Edinburgh, there is a council/planning push to get students into these private student blocks which free's up nice big tenenments for middle class families. Also when Edinburgh Uni's halls were oversubscribed, they put many students in Unite buildings.

There is alot of money to be made in it- students pay double the average rent (as it includes heating, cleaning, wifi, ect), and are often chucked out in the summer and the building will be advertised as a "hotel".
#11 Posted by Boss on 6 Feb 2012 at 18:54 PM
@ Dirige, I think the only funding that developers seems to be able to get is for student housing, thats certainly what I have understood.

@relaxed, I think thats a valid point but its sort of jaded by the expectation that families can afford and will move into these properties, never mind the fact they are overly expensive, most people want a private garden and a property that is easy to heat. Edinburgh has a real issue with student housing in that way too much is being approved. At best we are just creating ghettos at worst, all the students will move elsewhere and we ill be left with all these empty student flats that are of such poor quality they can't be changed into private housing.

Did developers learn nothing from the market crash? The only way is down for student numbers and i believe numbers have already started dropping..
Cashing in on student accomodation
#12 Posted by Cashing in on student accomodation on 10 Apr 2012 at 01:35 AM
Seems yet another rich developer is cashing in on the universities requirements for more accommodation. This building is not suitable for long term student accommodation facilities and should not be allowed through by the planners. There are signs of better things to come in Glasgow in the way of student accommodation. Therefore, hopefully none of the universities will tie themselves into long-term rental agreements on this building.

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