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McAslan vows to build winning George Square design

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January 22 2013

McAslan vows to build winning George Square design
John McAslan, winner of Glasgow’s George Square competition, has spoken out against the decision to scrap it in an interview on Newsnight Scotland saying: “Our scheme wasn’t radical, it isn’t radical. It really is quite traditional. It keeps the sculpture more or less in the same position, it retains and reworks the landscape and it gets rid of the tarmac so I’m really bemused by the whole thing. It’s a really traditional, understated scheme.

“I’m perplexed by councilor Matheson’s decision, I’ve written to him this evening and I’ve said I’d like to come and see him to talk about it because I’d like us to proceed and develop the project in consultation with the people of Glasgow.

“We’re not seeking compensation, we’re seeking to build the scheme. That is what we intend to do, we won’t give up because there has been a political decision. We will build the scheme, I am determined of it.

Responding on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland (1:50) Urban Realm editor John Glenday said: “I share John McAslan’s confusion. In his statement yesterday the Council leader said he was listening to the people of Glasgow but this is a belated conversion. The people of Glasgow have been telling the Council for 20 years now that they’re unhappy with the state of the square, that they want the red tarmac which is shoddy and ill-befitting of such a prominent space, to be replaced. Yet in that time the council has done nothing to rectify it.

"It was only in September of last year that efforts were made to launch this ill-fated competition. People have to ask why the Council have been wasting their time, our time, the architect’s time and the jury’s time over the past five months - not to mention however many thousands have been wasted organising the competition.

“Architects need recompense for the efforts they put in. There is this idea which has taken hold in which architects give their time for nothing. That is entirely false. But if the competition is set up that way, and sadly it’s not limited to this particular competition, then the architects have no recourse.

"The whole competition was ill-conceived from the very beginning, there was no consultation, it was rushed, done behind closed doors to gear up for the Commonwealth Games which, incidentally, if the Council can’t organise the repaving of a square on their own doorstep this year, then it doesn’t instill any confidence in their ability to stage a successful Games next year.”
McAslan has described his planned intervention as 'traditional'
McAslan has described his planned intervention as 'traditional'
The architect has vowed not to let go of his George Square dream without a fight
The architect has vowed not to let go of his George Square dream without a fight


Rem Koolbag
#1 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 22 Jan 2013 at 15:35 PM
Well said John Glenday - this sort of thing needs to be said more often in our 'cool to bash an architect' society.
#2 Posted by David on 22 Jan 2013 at 17:11 PM

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, headed by jury member Neil Baxter, has been paid £19,500 for its role in the debacle, £14,000 goes to pollsters MORI, the five "unsuccessful" firms on the shortlist get £5000 each, the "winner" receives £10,000 and the chairman of the jury, David Mackay, a partner at MBM Architects Barcelona, also gets £5000
Kevin O'Brien
#3 Posted by Kevin O'Brien on 22 Jan 2013 at 17:21 PM
McAslan's scheme was the best principally because it did almost exactly what the "people of Glasgow" wanted, which was to rip up the tarmac and not much else.

You would think that councillor Matheson wouldn't want to bring so much negative attention on himself given his publicised indiscretions in the recent weeks. What is it with Glasgow Labour politicians? Mike (Yon birkie ca'd a Lord) Watson burning the curtains, Purcell and his numerous misdemeanours which are like something out of a David Peace novel, and now this fool. Why should the people of Glasgow trust these people to make these decisions when they seem incapable of the rational thought to make themselves "role models" in their own lives.

I applaud John McAslan's indefatigability here and I hope he triumphs, and also echo the thoughts of #1 - well said JG!!!
#4 Posted by Cadmonkey on 22 Jan 2013 at 19:26 PM
Should this not have been a landscape architect competition?
#5 Posted by SW on 22 Jan 2013 at 22:17 PM
Absolutely right Cadmonkey it should have been a landscape architect competition.

Sorry Kevin I have to disagree slightly. Yes Glaswegians have been asking for the tarmac to be taken away but they've also been asking for the reinstatement of the grassed areas and trees. McAslans scheme didn't do this well enough.

I agree whole heartedly that the scheme should be developed with consultation with the people of Glasgow. Hold an event in George Sq inviting people to come in and have their say, just don't hide it away in the lighthouse this time.
Freak Person
#6 Posted by Freak Person on 24 Jan 2013 at 13:59 PM
Who was John McAslan trying to impress with his scheme? Not the people of Glasgow, judging by the grim and unappealing visuals. His scheme is so 'understated', for which read minimalist, joyless and windswept, that few outside the design professions could see any point in doing it at all. Who would want to spend £15m on this?
#7 Posted by Johnny on 24 Jan 2013 at 18:49 PM
I agree with Person above, McAslan on Newsnight said he was born in Glasgow, family from there etc. If that is true why is their design so grey, depressing and bleak. Can you imagine this on a cold windy rainy day, it would be awful? Infact no need to imagine because strangely every render is grey. You'd think McAslan was taking the mickey and doesn't like Glasgow at all. And it WON! deary me.

Glasgow has so much potential but has such a backward looking council and Councillors. I'm seriously starting to worry about the commonwealth games too, over in the east end there is a year to go and it doesn't look very impressive down there yet. Celtic Park surroundings are still a mess, the old school is still there, and what happened to the hotel/retail developments across the road?

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