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ScottishPower approve 14 storey Glasgow HQ plans

July 19 2012

ScottishPower approve 14 storey Glasgow HQ plans
ScottishPower has committed to building a new 14 storey headquarters building on Glasgow’s St Vincent Street after the plans were approved by its board of directors.

This follows selection of Helical Bar and Dawn Developments as preferred developer for the site following a competitive tender process.

Under the terms of the agreement Helical Bar will take possession of ScottishPower’s three existing office locations in Cathcart, Yoker and Falkirk to ready them for future redevelopment once the energy giant has consolidated its operations.

Ignacio Galan, ScottishPower Chairman, said: “Our plans in the UK in the coming years require an office complex that is fit for purpose to deliver and manage these investments.

“This new development will ensure Glasgow remains home to ScottishPower’s UK headquarters for the long term and will be a hub for delivering the £10billion of planned investment over the coming years.”

The 220,000sq/ft development is expected to commence construction in 2013 for completion by late 2015 and will be the largest single occupier office development in the city for a quarter of a century.

The scheme will rise directly opposite Keppie's St Vincent Plaza.
It is believed that an architect has still to be finalised
It is believed that an architect has still to be finalised
The design shown is a very early indication of what the office complex could look like
The design shown is a very early indication of what the office complex could look like


#1 Posted by David on 19 Jul 2012 at 12:40 PM
#2 Posted by Fan on 19 Jul 2012 at 12:58 PM
Not a fan of the design, but good news for Scotland! A Scottish company having its headquaters in Scotland, thats a great idea.
#3 Posted by Meh on 19 Jul 2012 at 13:12 PM
A big radiator, very apt
Philip Stine
#4 Posted by Philip Stine on 19 Jul 2012 at 13:40 PM
its Page Park
#5 Posted by ooft on 19 Jul 2012 at 14:46 PM
That is horrific
#6 Posted by Stuart on 19 Jul 2012 at 15:04 PM
Sadly Page and Park's new build work is often less than mediocre. Though their conservation work is usually excellent.
 Philip Stine
#7 Posted by Philip Stine on 19 Jul 2012 at 15:11 PM
........But i though P/P were "award winning architects"

just like every other Scottish Architectural Practice

and if memory serves me right they won "architectural practice of the year" at the Scottish Design Awards

I wonder if there are any practices out there that don’t claim to be "award winning"
#8 Posted by Stuart on 19 Jul 2012 at 15:24 PM
Philip Stine
#9 Posted by Philip Stine on 19 Jul 2012 at 15:27 PM
kevin toner
#10 Posted by kevin toner on 19 Jul 2012 at 20:53 PM
One thing showing through here that’s instantly odd and perhaps a little 1960s in spirit, but in reverse, is the proposition to canopy over the pavement with the building-line.

I wouldn’t call it sacrilege to do this here by any means and it will mean a less bulky brute as a result as it will have as lateral a floor-plate as possible. Similarly as Tay House of course, up a bit, but in terms of over the motorway rather than the pavement!

Look at the contrast in lettering attitude between the Premier Inn tower, not far along, and this. I Googled Pan-Am to compare proportions and see that SP’s font size isn’t much different. P/Inn is of course a conserved Seifert tower block from the 1970s so its lettering is understandably minute by comparison. The juxtaposition of lettering size between SP’s & the W&McK block to its east side is also radical, whilst against the Marriot the large size is nothing new, with relative downplaying evident from both the adjacent Santander and Hilton buildings. Again, I’ve no qualms with storey high lettering here especially if designed by the original architect. I would if anything urge for this for the passer-by’s convenience, motorist or pedestrian.

We’re told this is a preliminary sketch idea and no more as yet, so that’s enough from me at the moment. A mere 2 issues!
#11 Posted by Bob on 19 Jul 2012 at 20:58 PM
Cant help thinking it looks like a city version of BMJ's Crime Campus
kevin toner
#12 Posted by kevin toner on 19 Jul 2012 at 20:59 PM
St Andrews House of 1964 does this, but doesn't breach the building-line. The old Tron Spire does it too for a mere moment I suppose...

Any more examples?
kevin toner
#13 Posted by kevin toner on 19 Jul 2012 at 21:07 PM
If granted, perhaps the architects to St Vincent Plaza opposite can be urged to re-evaluate on the newfound rules!
kevin toner
#14 Posted by kevin toner on 19 Jul 2012 at 21:23 PM
It would’ve offered a potentially larger plaza, which would in turn cut less off of Santander’s aspect to the motorway thereby engaging all three buildings more successfully with the plaza concept. It’s probably water under the bridge now though.
kevin toner
#15 Posted by kevin toner on 19 Jul 2012 at 21:40 PM
I’m a little quick off the mark there as it appears that the north building-line is quite a staggered affair en-route to the top of the hill. So it probably won’t be against planning convention as a fresh architectural concept.

With lots of glass and polished natural stone it should successful/cleanable. Otherwise you wouldn’t want people walking through there.
kevin toner
#16 Posted by kevin toner on 20 Jul 2012 at 09:49 AM
Please note that the Kevin Toner commenting above on the SP announcement is NOT Kevin Toner of Keppie Design.
kevin toner
#17 Posted by kevin toner on 20 Jul 2012 at 10:28 AM

Thanks Kevin,

After some deliberation on the plaza concept opposite, I would have liked to have seen a discussion arise on having a second Tay House as it were. Okay, not a panel for panel or mullion for mullion version, but at least a cognisance on the need for a veritable sibling. It didn’t fully cross my mind earlier, i.e. past the material sense of the debate. However, diagram-wise, it could provide an answer to a horrendously difficult site.

It’s almost an identical site and such a footprint would sort the difficulties of how the surrounding buildings can address a square in common.

Therefore, perhaps a re-evaluation on the plaza across from the Scottish Power site can finally tidy a masterplan, which has badly frayed, here at the M8 edge, to the point of being arbitrary and illegible, into something intended looking, new and cohesive instead.

Again though, probably water under the bridge.
Joseph Rodgers
#18 Posted by Joseph Rodgers on 20 Jul 2012 at 13:15 PM
The final design better look a lot better than this monstrosity, I dont want to have to see it every day.
#19 Posted by urbanrealm on 20 Jul 2012 at 14:08 PM
Please keep discussion focussed on the topic in hand - ScottishPower's new HQ.

Off topic posts will be deleted.
#20 Posted by wonky on 20 Jul 2012 at 14:53 PM
There may not be a lot of work going about Glasgow or elsewhere for that matter, but right it is boom time for window cleaners- this only adds to the window cleaners gold rush...for all you budding entrepreneurs out there: WINDOWS ARE THE FUTURE. Get into windows and invest in some environmentally friendly "organic" sponges!
kevin toner (official)
#21 Posted by kevin toner (official) on 20 Jul 2012 at 15:06 PM
#20 wonky, your comments are clearly off topic and likely to be removed by our officious host.

#17 kevin toner (charlatan) Thanks Kevin, I feel we are finally progressing the subject in a most agreeable manner, the subject of rehabilitating the M8 gash back into the fold makes one think of the fine work attributed to those in Detroit and others less known who may even remain unknown even here. Continuez adroit!
kevin toner
#22 Posted by kevin toner on 20 Jul 2012 at 18:30 PM
At the moment the site opposite is ultimately the key to the success of the vicinity.

The facing plaza site could bring an amenity to the vicinity’s last few developments, not least to itself, if it could be reappraised to: 1) engage with its neighbours, not least the Scottish Power & Britoil building sites; not forgetting the Whyte & Mackay building if the SP design proposal should develop. Without such ambition opposite, as planned, i.e. if there’s no pulling together between the movers and shakers etc. the city will inherit a classic ‘urban’ mess rather than a realm.

The facing site’s proposal doesn’t have to emulate Tay Ho. or any other such example; nor any over-daring cantilever icon. However, by reaching over the motorway and/or the various slip roads in the architect’s own way: better views are to be had and likewise a slightly greater relationship to more: e.g. The Mitchell Library; and no less the M8 itself...

The facing site is one of a trio nearby, but is the most dynamic of the three, i.e. between Tay Ho. & Elmbank Gdns, by hosting a sweeping city-bound motorway offshoot.

Not confronting the M8 condition is therefore not merely shy of dynamism; it’ll also be unfortunately adverse contextually. Without the facing site’s reappraisal there’s possibly not much more the Scottish Power elevations have to do, as hinted on the article.
#23 Posted by wonky on 23 Jul 2012 at 16:18 PM
kevin is quite right here concerning my idiotic violation of protocol- a touch more solemnity and gravitas is required on this topic: This is good news for the city, of that there is no doubt. Architectural merit at this junction of the city next to the motorway is not entirely essential, considering the style of buildings in the vicinity. Surely this is infinitely better than the gravel crater that dominates this key corner at present?
Directly across the street there is the soon to be St Vincent Plaza Glasgow. Planning Consent has been Granted for Abstract Securities' 'St Vincent Plaza'. Which will be built at 303 St Vincent Street by Abstract.
This area of the city needs a substantial boost; a real injection of capital in its infrastructure and a cluster of these developments will only accelerate that process of regeneration- hopefully it will create a domino effect and thereby ridding the city of the various monstrosities of cheap-end Brutalism around Charing Cross, Elmbank Gardens and India Street.
#24 Posted by Dial-a-lama on 23 Jul 2012 at 19:57 PM
Kevin Toner. You've brought this mockery on yourself. As much as I advocate the theory that each and every building need not scream for attention and that some should be part of the 'unnoticed' fabric of the city - I do think every building should aspire to a level of quality fitting its scale and context.....not sure the images thus far suggest this building does....
#25 Posted by Ross on 24 Jul 2012 at 09:25 AM
It is hideous-it is reminicient of a 1960's office block which cities throughout UK and invested millions on to demolish and rid the proud city centres of such monolithic eye sores.

Charing Cross has been blighted with this architecture since its demise in the 1960's, now should be opportunity to revitalise the area with impressive, modern, inspirational buildings just like every other financial district of cities throughout the world.

This building does no justice for Glasgow. Not good enough.
bla bla
#26 Posted by bla bla on 24 Jul 2012 at 09:31 AM
I'd love to see on UrbanRealm the other proposals for the site .......
#27 Posted by didier on 30 Jul 2012 at 14:56 PM
I can only describe it as: rotten looking
kevin toner
#28 Posted by kevin toner on 1 Aug 2012 at 11:56 AM
#12: An actual precedent [also in metal and glass] would be the corner of incidentally SP’s HQ 1 Atlantic Quay before it becomes a parallel with the main street. Will the SP proposal however be as successful? It will or ought to be, especially if corporate identity is deliberately at the helm...

It works at Atlantic Quay because the covering is 3 storeys high, lowering to 2 when parallel with the road, where it’s non-pedestrian. At St Vincent Plaza it’s not as high, but might be high or confining enough.

There’s almost an actual precedent in stone on George Square as recently refurbished (see UR 25 Jan 2012). It was built in 1979 apparently. At George Ho. though, the colonnade is strictly visual and deters pedestrian passage underneath due to 1) the column depth and 2) being rather confined, especially on the sloped returning gables; and 3) the play off of additional pavement due to keeping to the original Geo. Sq building line rather than that of the prouder George Street, albeit the rly stn hotel had lately added a single-storey conservatory that unacceptably narrowed the pavement on the preceding block.

The SP proposal however appears to be as proud of the building line as it can be and as a result will encourage rather than discourage pedestrians. It’s penultimately unprecedented [in Glasgow] in this respect, courtesy of its HQ.

My opinion is that corporate-identity is okay at this juncture with the Seifert Masterplan. The tendency for newer tall buildings in this 1960s haven has been to set back and landscape in front, ergo the scatter of building lines. I think that a generously elevated throughway potentially offers an alternatively solution.
Rem Koolbag
#29 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 1 Aug 2012 at 12:12 PM
Penultimately unprecedented?
kevin toner
#30 Posted by kevin toner on 1 Aug 2012 at 12:51 PM
I was going to say 'next to' or 'near to', then got the hunch to say penultimately as in 'next in place to last'. Am I wrong Rem, this is the first time I've used that word? I got a B for my Higher, but maybe should've been a C, or might you say an F?
Rem Koolbag
#31 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 1 Aug 2012 at 13:02 PM
I could only comment if I had the slightest clue as to what the hell you were actually trying to say in the first place, Kevin. Sorry.
kevin toner
#32 Posted by kevin toner on 1 Aug 2012 at 13:32 PM

Perhaps you were stunned by the suggestion that such an arcaded front to a street is this rare. It might have been more prevalent in piazza schemes in the 1960s, but not in street architecture; and the same goes for any arcaded fronts which existed in Glasgow’s distant past...

So not really unprecedented in Glasgow, but “penultimately” so, maybe!

Something along the lines of ‘Extremely rare’ might have been better and less confusing. My fault, although there’s a certain impact by stressing the actual rarity through wordplay! We’ve not seen this being done in Glasgow. Maybe it’s done in other world cities. So I thought it was something to address, debate, and perhaps even welcome...
Rem Koolbag
#33 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 1 Aug 2012 at 14:08 PM
No not stunned. Perplexed, confused maybe.

How about thinking about what you want to say, then saying it as simply as possible. Try reading your #28 post back to yourself and see if you can make sense of it.
kevin toner
#34 Posted by kevin toner on 1 Aug 2012 at 14:21 PM
If read separately, yes it doesn't make any sense, but does so as part of the thread on my previous posts, i.e. up to penultimately post #12, which I signposted with a colon.
kevin toner
#35 Posted by kevin toner on 1 Aug 2012 at 14:39 PM
Rem, I should have lost: 1) the "a" in 1st para; and 2) the "ly" in ‘alternatively’ at the end. Sometimes my laptop plays up and these things happen, apologies for the confusion.

“rly stn” also = railway station, apologies for those with alternative shorthand, it’s arrogant I admit and shall refrain.

One more slip was that I implied that 1 Atlantic Quay was an exclusive HQ, whereas it’s shared premises, apologies again.
Rem Koolbag
#36 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 1 Aug 2012 at 16:20 PM
Thanks Kevin - I understand the words, it's just the order they are all put together in that confuses!

kevin toner
#37 Posted by kevin toner on 1 Aug 2012 at 18:55 PM
Good point Rem: it should have read:

“...In this respect it could be unprecedented in Glasgow, penultimately, courtesy of the existing HQ.”

Apologies for not proofing it Rem, but can I get an ‘A’ now rather than that ‘F’?

#38 Posted by E=mc2 on 3 Aug 2012 at 17:47 PM
I gather the Spanish architects Iberdola (Scot Power) use at home are part of the P/P team, and if so that's a smart move by the winning team. Also, understand that the Whyte & Mackay building might be soon up for grabs which would leave it open for redevelopment given the emerging higher density of surrounding sites.

If its a plaza or public realm they want they should cover over the M8 as far up as possible before the railway tunnel makes it impractical. Would improve the setting of the Mitchell no end.
kevin toner
#39 Posted by kevin toner on 4 Aug 2012 at 10:38 AM
Or you could say ‘flatten the Mitchell and that’ll improve the setting of the M8 no end’.

This section of the M8 like it or not has been cited as a ‘Key Scottish Monuments by DoCoMoMo under the alias: the Glasgow IRR, West Flank.

So, is it to be a case of 1) Architecture Vs Civil Engineering heritage; or 2) can each be worked with and recognised? I’m for the democracy of the latter!
sam dickie
#40 Posted by sam dickie on 5 Aug 2012 at 10:43 AM
For one of the largest energy providers in Scotland shouldn't they be paving the way for an energy efficient building.
Kevin Steele
#41 Posted by Kevin Steele on 23 Oct 2012 at 10:48 AM
My tuppenceworth:

Elmbank Gardens - high time the tower was protected as a listed structure. As far as any of the other Brutalist era office blocks in the area are concerned, it is far and away the most architecturally interesting. I don't care so much about the low-rise part of the complex - which now looks even worse now that Premier Inn have refurbished the tower, but the rest has been left in its grotty state.

The council office blocks like Nye Bevan House and Portcuillis House on India Street are low quality, system built jobs built with no imagination whatsoever and should be flattened.

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