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St Enoch Station subway canopies take shape

November 4 2014

St Enoch Station subway canopies take shape
Work to remodel a pair of entrance canopies to Glasgow's St Enoch Subway station has begun today following completion of below ground refurbishment work.

A £5.3m upgrade of the transport link was commissioned as part of a wider upgrade of the subway network and includes an improved travel centre, expanded concourse and energy efficient lighting.

The curvaceous glass and steel portals have been designed by AHR Architects and are being built by Graham Construction on behalf of SPT, together with new escalators and lifts to platform and concourse level.

Graham Construction regional director Gary Holmes said: “While a lot of work has already been completed below ground, the installation of the glass canopies will be the first evidence of the transformation of St Enoch Station above ground.

“The new canopies will be a talking point for the people of Glasgow and will bring much more natural light into the station, increasing visibility for users.”

Work will be phased to minimise disruption to the 2m passengers a year who use the station, with the Argyle Street entrance completing ahead of its Howard Street twin which will be fully complete by summer 2015.
The glass design has been modelled on Glasgow's Kibble Palace
The glass design has been modelled on Glasgow's Kibble Palace


#1 Posted by james on 4 Nov 2014 at 13:33 PM
I am afraid to say that from a simple prosaic point of view, don't our London imperial masters know that it rains heavily WITH wind in these here parts of their branch office? Good rain-catchers! I also visited this part of the city a month ago and was truly depressed by the heavy solid side of St.Enoch's centre fronting onto the square, yet from the perspective I would be led to believe that all is light and airy. Can we stop this nonsense and start telling the truth please? I also think these canopies are just designed as objects in themselves with little heed paid to their surroundings. The glass canopy in Buchanan Street is a far better and more robust model. I mean this above would sit more happily in a park. But I guess that's corporate architecture for you. The architects would definitely have made better lawyers.
#2 Posted by Stephen on 4 Nov 2014 at 13:46 PM
However these are designed they're going to be bad and in the way of sightlines. Would it really be so hard to revise the set-up so that entrance is below ground and no canopy is built above ground. There's plenty of room below and the drainage is hardly rocket science.
Either way these don't look good. Facetted glazing to approximate a curve and you really know something's wrong when you need to retro-fit a barrier to your design to make it work...
#3 Posted by David on 4 Nov 2014 at 15:22 PM
Wonderful to see the outflowing of positivity yet again from urban realm commentators. I'm sure it would be better to keep the existing canopies and keep our country's largest city back in the 1970s where it belongs? I'm so fan of SPT, the fact that the underground has still not been extended is a disgrace, but at least these new canopies aspire to change and moderise the current system, they have a much better relationship with the square and are a huge improvement for the St Enoch Square public realm. Stephen if there is no entrance above ground how exactly do you envisage people entering into St Enoch station? Overall I think these are a vast improvement on the current situation and are better again than the previous proposal for the canopies replacement.
Tom Manley...
#4 Posted by Tom Manley... on 4 Nov 2014 at 15:45 PM
These are alright! i quite like them... even if it does reaffirm Glasgow's ongoing infatuation with generic... squinty, blob like structures.
Roger Herron
#5 Posted by Roger Herron on 4 Nov 2014 at 20:36 PM
Thumbs up from me
#6 Posted by George on 5 Nov 2014 at 11:28 AM
I actually thought these looked quite good, and is a great improvement on what was there as well as not just conforming to the norm.
#7 Posted by David on 5 Nov 2014 at 11:48 AM
@ James,

What are you talking about? The render of St. Enoch Centre looks pretty accurate to solid wall (you can even see the blockwork / stonework rendered), so in what way are they not telling the truth? Were you really 'truly depressed'?...maybe you need to book yourself in if that is actually the case.

Also, the main problem with the existing set up, both at St. Enoch and the 2 entrances at Buchanan St is that at street level they are rectangular in plan, which has the result of creating fairly poor pinch points at each corner on a busy weekend shopping day (as anyone who has ever shopped in Buchanan St will no doubt have experienced). The good thing about these elliptical plans is that they should help the flow of pedestrians up and down the street. Let's stop all this pathetic critique about rain catchers and faceted glazing until at least on them is built.
#8 Posted by Rem-Job on 5 Nov 2014 at 12:09 PM
Does form follow form or form follow form....
#9 Posted by Sven on 5 Nov 2014 at 14:13 PM
I have not been to this part of the city for some time, so it was a shock to see the extension of the St Enoch centre oppressing it and making it look small and dark. I know the old hotel on the site followed a similar line.

To get back to the subway canopies, they look fine and look functional.
#10 Posted by james on 6 Nov 2014 at 08:17 AM
I forgive you. By the way, the old St. Enoch's station was a whole separate world like a Shaun Tan 'world'. To say it followed the same 'line' is as illuminating as saying the world is round. The current service- yard architecture of this side of St.Enoch's Centre is in no way can be said to be appropriate for the square itself.
The point is that the aerial 3D render is a lie. The building fabric around St. Enoch's square is not light, or airy, or has gossamer lace-like qualities. I suspect it is purposefully rendered that way in order to make the entrance structures appear more in keeping with their surroundings rather than the context-less objects that I think they will be. Whether or not one subjectively 'likes them' or not, is not my point. So much for Norberg-Schulz's, 'Genius Loci'. Ideology has clearly been replaced by iconography.
#11 Posted by David on 6 Nov 2014 at 10:54 AM

I'm not following your point, particularly the 'gossamer lace like qualities' bit. Could you be a bit more specific? Is it that they have rendered the grey stone surfaces on the ground too light in colour? What's not airy? I'm sure they have accurately modelled the volume of the space that is the square. What makes the 'building fabric' airy or not airy? Perhaps it looks light in their render as maybe the sun is shining?

What makes them 'context-less'? Is it because they are not period sandstone to match some of the surrounding buildings? Can't they just be objects with their own style? Can you elaborate on what you mean by your last sentence?
Art Vandelay
#12 Posted by Art Vandelay on 6 Nov 2014 at 11:30 AM
Oh James.

OK, so the render perhaps doesn't have that unique Glasgow 'grunge' filter applied to it (not sure if that comes with the latest version of Photoshop in any case), but aside from that I fail to see what's so offensive about it. The success of the scheme should surely be determined on the basis of how well it performs as a underground station, and what sort of impact it has on the square, rather than on a conceptual render's accuracy in terms of 'feel'? Everything looks in the right place to me!

The designs themselves seem fair enough, if a tad arbitrary, but I've seen a lot worse.
#13 Posted by Stephen on 7 Nov 2014 at 00:46 AM
Don't think I said 'there should be no access from above ground'. That would be incredibly thick. I said, why do we need a big canopy (double the height of the current?) that gets in the way of sight-lines, when we could descend a stair/escalator into a below grade lobby? This would free up one of Glasgow's only public squares a little.
What I want to see when I enter this square is the crescendo of a great civic axis (Buchanan St), with a great little listed building in the middle. What I'll actually see because of these arbitrary bits of look-at-me wilful bulbousness, will be a giant yawning entrance (with orthogonal doors, shoe-horned into a pear shape).
And please, look at the detail around the base, and the railings that have to be installed to stop people climbing on it, and the obvious facets; do we honestly need to wait and see it built before we know it's made out of a kit of catalogue parts by Architectural Aluminium (or whoever), to some grey RAL or other? ...actually it might match the urban planning, catalogue-designed disaster that is the extended St Enoch centre...
#14 Posted by Duncan on 7 Nov 2014 at 09:21 AM
OH DEAR!... the structure is now up and unfortunately the one to Buchanan Street has lost it's narrow parabolic form and is a very large and wide barrel arch. It completely blocks the view of the old ticket office and to me it looks way out of scale. Pity, I had hopes for this one.
#15 Posted by bonvivant on 7 Nov 2014 at 09:22 AM
@ James

I take your point about wind and rain, but what are you on about when ranting about 'London imperial masters' ?
#16 Posted by stef3d on 7 Nov 2014 at 10:04 AM
Damn, I see what you mean Duncan. Not at all like the form in the images. Looks like a giant polytunnel at the moment.
#17 Posted by arch on 7 Nov 2014 at 13:30 PM
i dont really mind this, it is somewhat an improvement on what's there. as long as they dont replicate it in place of the glazed buchanan street one at the top end, as the plans suggested. up there it would be infinitely worse.
#18 Posted by Stephen on 7 Nov 2014 at 14:24 PM
@ 14: I rest my case (Not sure why you had high hopes though. It's lower than the proposals and it still gets in the way...).
#19 Posted by Sven on 8 Nov 2014 at 21:38 PM
@ James.
I was thinking of the original Georgian square with the church in the middle surrounded by housing. Looking at the picture it looks like the modern shopping centre goes right up to the old railings, so does actually not follow the same line, I think. Line meaning boundary. It is an Americanism, do forgive that, I work internationally.

I do agree about the facade being inappropriate. I thought I was looking at the road between the Almondvale Shoping centre and Livingston outlet village at first.
#20 Posted by james on 12 Nov 2014 at 21:02 PM
ranting? moi? AHR architects = London. Also star wars allusion topical re recent well-documented and viral referendum jape - oh do keep up.

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