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Glasgow’s Merchant City on the up with Candleriggs Quarter plan

February 27 2015

Glasgow’s Merchant City on the up with Candleriggs Quarter plan
Mace and Mercer Real Estate, joint venture partners behind Glasgow’s Candleriggs Quarter, have together lodged a planning application for a 1.49ha brownfield site in the heart of the Merchant City.

The plans follow a nine month consultation on proposals by Richard Murphy Architects for a mixed use scheme bounded by Wilson Street, Hutcheson Street, Candleriggs and Trongate, which has already been cleared awaiting development.

Arranged around a new central square, to be named Brunswick Place, the scheme offers a range of housing types above retail, food, drink and commercial uses. This includes a total of 512 homes will be provided alongside a 124 room hotel and 597 beds of student accommodation together with a range of retail units.

Green roofs, a communal podium and roof top gardens planted with native species and bird boxes have been specified for the full development  to improve biodiversity.

Mace development director Mike Myles said: “We are delighted to maintain the momentum on the site and move the proposed scheme to the next stage following an extensive period of pre-application planning discussions. We have worked hard over the past six months with Glasgow City Council and local stakeholders to design a scheme which we believe will positively contribute to the already successful Merchant City.”

Richard Murphy added: "The Candleriggs project represents a wonderful and rare opportunity to design virtually a whole city block and in a fascinating and rapidly changing part of Glasgow. It has been a pleasure working with our client and with Glasgow City planning department to ensure that this project is  real piece of 24-hour city. I believe it will be a major step forward in the already successful regeneration of the Merchant City as place to live, work, study, shop and enjoy.”

Subject to approval works are likely to commence by spring 2016.
17 storey towers will bookend the scheme
17 storey towers will bookend the scheme
Diagonal pedestrian routes will connect Trongate to Merchant Square
Diagonal pedestrian routes will connect Trongate to Merchant Square


#1 Posted by LOL on 27 Feb 2015 at 13:16 PM
what's that coming over the hill.....
Sir Ano
#2 Posted by Sir Ano on 27 Feb 2015 at 13:49 PM
I hope there is the same sort of backlash towards this project as there was for the Buchanan Galleries Extension. It sure well deserves it.
#3 Posted by Alf on 27 Feb 2015 at 14:33 PM
Sir Ano, why? The difference between the Buchanan Galleries Extension and this scheme is that it actually encourages people to use the streets/routes that the thing is built on.
The Galleries don't, in that respect, and if anything else this would be an improvement on what is currently built in that area. If you were in charge of this scheme, what would you propose? I ask honestly, not in a flippant way.
#4 Posted by monkey9000 on 27 Feb 2015 at 15:50 PM
Haymarket Tower Mk. II ?
Paved paradise
#5 Posted by Paved paradise on 27 Feb 2015 at 15:55 PM

Build it.
#6 Posted by Wevo on 27 Feb 2015 at 16:30 PM
These two images, look like two different schemes! the Argyle street elevations are hideously out of scale! Put down the Irn Bru and get real!!!
#7 Posted by CADMonkey on 27 Feb 2015 at 16:32 PM
Should the top 9 floors not be chopped off this building? Why build so high in a part of the city with so many gap sites?
Devilled Eggs
#8 Posted by Devilled Eggs on 27 Feb 2015 at 18:33 PM
Is Richard Murphy trying to perpetuate the myth that he cant design anything bigger than a house?

(although I do like the DCA)
#9 Posted by Roddy on 27 Feb 2015 at 19:02 PM
Please expand.
You sound firm in your belief that this is as incondite as the BG. Interested to know the basis on which you make such an assertion.
Methilated Spirits
#10 Posted by Methilated Spirits on 27 Feb 2015 at 21:31 PM
Development on this site is much needed but have the designers any idea about urban design/history and townscape? The Trongate is one of Glasgow's most ancient streets and, in my view, it would be a shame for the historic Tron Steeple to be dwarfed by a tower block as per the illustration. But does anyone care nowadays? Bird boxes seem more important!
#11 Posted by Roddy on 28 Feb 2015 at 02:37 AM
Excellent news to see that this is progressing.
This news tempered with what appears to be the loss of a design classic in the shape of Bar Ten. Shop filters appear to be ripping out this little piece of the 80's.
A real shame and very short sighted. It was of its time and sort of timeless too.
#12 Posted by Roddy on 28 Feb 2015 at 13:03 PM
Neil C
#13 Posted by Neil C on 28 Feb 2015 at 14:54 PM
#10 It seems to be developer policy these days, submit an absurdly over-scaled development first off then "reluctantly" negotiate a reduction to receive planning.
#14 Posted by Jamie on 1 Mar 2015 at 15:13 PM
Ditch the "Bookend" towers and this scheme is actually not bad.
The Flâneur
#15 Posted by The Flâneur on 1 Mar 2015 at 19:14 PM
#11 Alas, I can second that. It would appear that shop fitters are working away inside Bar Ten at present and they appear to be jumping the gun somewhat.

As a result of the Lighthouse campaign several years ago the Ben Kelly interior is now specifically referred to in the Listing Information for building. The owners must be aware of this as they have applied for both Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission but these applications were only validated on 10 February so they don't appear to have permission for the changes as yet.

The Listed Building Consent Application here:

And the Planning Application here:

They want to install a new mezzanine, stair and kitchen but you can see for yourself the basic drawing information that has been supplied. Not sure if an architect or interior designer is involved and judging from the basic drawing information I very much doubt that Ben Kelly has been consulted on the changes to his interior. I hope they don't ruin what is one of the very best recent interiors in Glasgow and a rare survivor from that period in the UK.
#16 Posted by David on 2 Mar 2015 at 10:39 AM
1 elevation fits all, therefore clumsy massing, no respect to the rich tapestry of the Merchant City, therefore totally out of scale to it's context. Like an alien has landed.

This is a huge area which historically was filled with a number of buildings, each with their own character, which is what makes the Merchant City what it is. This could be anywhere in the world. Smacks of Architect's ego instead of respectful placemaking. Not really surprising given it's Richard Murphy.
Art Vandelay
#17 Posted by Art Vandelay on 2 Mar 2015 at 10:52 AM
More student housing? Really? Great to see this site finally being developed, but my heart sank when I read that there was yet more accommodation of this type proposed.

The tower does seem a little incongruous but if sensitively detailed (and dropped by a couple of stories) it could work. On the whole, promising...
Candleriggs Rez
#18 Posted by Candleriggs Rez on 3 Mar 2015 at 12:02 PM
#16 David - Totally agree, A development like this will dominate the area like the district 9 spaceship and overshadow everything!! Out of scale, disrespectful to the M.C. and ignores the rich history of variation and scale in the area.

Check out the full application - 15/00457/DC

Even the application hides its brutal relationship to the surrounding buildings by excluding them from the drawings and its planning statement is a joke! If the design team genuinely worked closely with GCC on "building height + massing" then this just shows how blinkered both are to the existing area. Look, shiny shiny things, you likey? you wanty? sign here...... well done Mr Murphy.

Anyone wanna buy my flat? Soon to transform into no view, no daylight, low rent due to over saturation of student accommodation.

Slow hand clap GCC.
#19 Posted by Charlie_ on 3 Mar 2015 at 14:59 PM
@Rez, the new renders on architects journal show the proposed blocks across from Merchant square & along Wilson street matching the height of the existing block on the corner of candleriggs and bell street at 10 floors (which itself barely reached taller than the Victorian blocks it adjoined). The internal square is fronted by buildings of 5 or 6 floors. All perfectly in scale. The jump from 10 to 17 floors will admittedly be a step up (or variation?) but 'like a district9 spaceship landing'? In Glasgow city centre? You're laying it on a bit there.
#20 Posted by designer on 11 Mar 2015 at 12:21 PM
I love it. It has real presence and robustness fitting of its setting.
Allan miller
#21 Posted by Allan miller on 13 Aug 2016 at 01:52 AM
Keeping the towers in scale with the surrounding buildings, is not rocket science
#22 Posted by Billy on 13 Aug 2016 at 16:40 PM
As Spring has passed I guess this development has been shelved. I just wish that this area was developed to encourage footfall in the area and hopefully encourage further developments starting with demolition of some of the tired ugly buildings sitting close by.

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