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Red Road to bring the house down at Commonwealth Games

April 3 2014

Red Road to bring the house down at Commonwealth Games
Glasgow’s Red Road flats are set to provide a dramatic set-piece for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony after contractor Safedem were asked to synchronise their explosive demise for a live link-up to Celtic Park for the Commonwealth Games opening.

Five of six 30-storey blocks remaining will be brought down simultaneously in a dramatic 15 sec blow down in the largest demolition of its kind ever undertaken in Europe.

An estimated TV audience of 1.5bn will tune in to witness the spectacle with local residents, facing evacuation during the blow down process, being offered spaces at Commonwealth games events.

David Zolkwer, head of ceremonies & artistic director for Glasgow 2014 said: “It’s such a privilege to be able to share this historic and dramatic moment with the people of Scotland and the watching world. Over the course of just a few seconds the city’s skyline will be transformed forever. It’s a bold and confident statement that says “bring on the future” but it will also be an important opportunity for us to contemplate the many lives lived in the tower blocks over the last fifty years.

“By sharing the blow down with the rest of the world, I hope it will be seen as the noble, respectful and celebratory send-off that it is intended to be.”

Two blocks on the estate were demolished in 2012 and 2013 whilst one will remain temporarily to house asylum seekers.


#1 Posted by really? on 3 Apr 2014 at 23:15 PM
I think this is a terrible idea!
david wilson
#2 Posted by david wilson on 4 Apr 2014 at 01:45 AM
Lets hope there isn't a prevailing wind that sees the opening ceremony blocked out by a large dust cloud.

What a naff idea.
#3 Posted by Egbert on 4 Apr 2014 at 10:18 AM
Just unbelievably crass.
Lee Ivett
#4 Posted by Lee Ivett on 4 Apr 2014 at 10:48 AM
In many parts of the city Glasgow is now witnessing the fourth phase of demolition and rebuild in the space of 120 years. This city has a habit of mindless physical regeneration that occurs at the detriment to actual community regeneration. It knows no other tactic and strategy for improving the lives of the marginalised urban poor than to destroy the de-humanising box that they currently live in and place them in a brand new de-humanising box that is then positioned in a wider physical environment that dictates activity and behaviour in a manner that gradually deteriorates the human spirit. Places like Red Road don't decline because tall buildings are a bad place to live, it is because those places were made without the opportunity and invitation for the inhabitants to generate a culture through their own creativity and to meaningfully effect and develop their community in an organic and responsive manner. There is floods of new social housing going up all over Glasgow at the moment which will no doubt win their architects awards and bring smiles to the faces of their new inhabitants when they move into their new shiny, warm homes with a drive at the front and a garden at the back but I can't help but think that until we start asking questions about what we want people to do in these places, how a place can truly bring delight into the every day and how people can see and touch the opportunity to create their own place then we will find in another 30 years we might need to start all over again.

This is obviously an extremely long winded response to what I think is a sick , ill considered, tactless, mindless show of misguided bravado. It says to the rest of the world that through neglect, mismanagement, dereliction of public duty, and a lack of care we fucked it up so badly and so profoundly that we have to destroy it and start all over again.

While they are at it maybe it's worth popping some dynamite under the emirates, under the east end regeneration route, under the bland and monotonous office developments, and under the ugly, ill considered, poorly planned social housing that's popping up near the M74 and saving our selves another 30 years of barely managed decline until we do it all over again for the opening ceremony of the 2044 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Done now x
#5 Posted by wonky on 4 Apr 2014 at 16:39 PM
amen. well said that man. GCC NEVER learns. Maybe it has something to do with it's corporate structure- I really don't know. Building lowfi sprawl on the periphery doesn't work ( certainly not for the poorest)- we need to develop high quality districts closer to the urban core if we want to create a better city.
#6 Posted by winnie on 6 Apr 2014 at 07:03 AM
Interesting to celebrate a display of what is essentially an act of self inflicted violence as a Glasgow message to the world - do you think they'll get the sentiment?
A local pleb
#7 Posted by A local pleb on 7 Apr 2014 at 09:38 AM
Yes a daft idea but doesn't merit the rant of comment #4 - fully of negativity, but hey thats what you tend to read in UR comments!
#8 Posted by David on 8 Apr 2014 at 08:52 AM
Lee, I think you need to get out more. I've not heard such a depressed point of view in a long time. Have you anything positive to say about all the good things that have happened in Glasgow over the years?
#9 Posted by wonky on 8 Apr 2014 at 11:15 AM
Although I don't agree with everything Lee has to say- I do agree with a lot of it- I think it's unfair to say it's a depressed point of view. GCC really has to begin to realize how great a European city Glasgow is. It's about time we started getting things right & building sustainable communities so that we can densify a reconnected city- so we don't repeat the same mistakes of the past.
#10 Posted by David on 8 Apr 2014 at 13:45 PM
That's all very well Wonky. Glasgow is a great European city as you say, however Lee's final paragraph is simply a grossly distorted viewpoint, suggesting that the mistakes of the past (ie the Red Road flats and alike) are just part of a continuous cycle of failure, which simply isn't true.

I'm on the fence over the proposals, and can see both negative and positive sides, which means that the way in which they are executed is critical.
Lee Ivett
#11 Posted by Lee Ivett on 8 Apr 2014 at 17:15 PM
Hi David,

happy to write about all the positive stuff that goes on in the city, redevelopment of the New Gorbals, much of the work of Molendinar Housing Association over the last 15 years or so and all the great work being done by many of the community groups that work with such as Love Milton, Woodlands Community Development Trust, Depot Arts, Concrete Garden, CHIP, Hawthorn Housing Co-op. My negativity is firmly focused on what I believe is a quite clear strategy of slash and burn perpetuated by our city fathers and mothers over generations. I know from experience through trying to deliver grassroots projects that much of the really positive sustainable development happens in spite of the conditions created by GCC.

I still have councillors threatening me at meetings because they think my community projects are too 'powerful', still have council officers asking why we want to do community projects on land that might one day be attractive to developers, 50/60 years after the Bruce Report we're still disconnecting whole areas of the city with motorways and dual carriage ways, we're still building 100's of houses without thinking to include a shop, or work space, or social amenity.

I get depressed because I see new communities and neighbourhoods being built in Holland, in France, in Slovenia, In Belgium and see the quality of the urban environment, the cycles lanes, the tram lines, the attention to detail and the importance that local government place on good, progressive and creative urban design and just wonder why we can't do it here.

I love life, not a negative person by nature, apologies for getting on a downer but the city is being fed a line regarding the use of the red road flats in the opening ceremony and I think that is pretty poor
Lee Ivett
#12 Posted by Lee Ivett on 8 Apr 2014 at 17:41 PM
Oh and David; I get out quite a lot
Art Vandelay
#13 Posted by Art Vandelay on 8 Apr 2014 at 21:40 PM
Excellent post Lee, spot on.

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