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BAM’s 110 Queen Street build nears completion

April 7 2015

BAM’s 110 Queen Street build nears completion
BAM Construction is nearing completion of a 143,000sq/ft office block at 110 Queen Street, Glasgow, the latest addition to the city’s grade A office stock.

Designed by Cooper Cromar the first tenant, law firm Brodies, accountancy businesses Deloitte and Grant Thornton, is set to move into the £50m building from June.

BAM is currently awaiting approval for a follow-up scheme at Atlantic Square, amounting to 260,000sq/ft of space.

A wall of glass now rises above Ingram Street
A wall of glass now rises above Ingram Street
Duke of Wellington's view has been radically altered in recent years
Duke of Wellington's view has been radically altered in recent years


#1 Posted by Bilbo on 7 Apr 2015 at 10:28 AM
This looks fantastic
well done Cooper Cromar
One of my favourite buildings in Glasgow
Vic Ferrari
#2 Posted by Vic Ferrari on 7 Apr 2015 at 10:44 AM
Would not a more complementary design to one Glasgow's best set pieces of townscape, i.e. the Elliot and Black/Hamilton masterpiece of Royal Exchange Square have been more appropriate? This building looks more like Dallas or Atlanta or any other nondescript 'place'. Must do better.
Methilated Spirits
#3 Posted by Methilated Spirits on 7 Apr 2015 at 12:39 PM
Couldn't be more out of keeping with its historic surrounding environment if it tried!
Big Chantelle
#4 Posted by Big Chantelle on 7 Apr 2015 at 16:07 PM
It nears completion and is still as ugly and offensive as the day it was conceived by the concrete modernist brigade.

The surrounding area is full of stone built classically inspired architecture. Yep, let's put an ugly glass wonky thing in amongst it which causes uncomfortable glare onto the surrounding square.

#5 Posted by Juurry on 8 Apr 2015 at 09:10 AM
Firstly, it's not concrete or modernist...

It intends to create a new definition to the corner site. And I think it does so by implementing a soft fluidic texture to the otherwise sharp lines of Glasgow's traditional architecture that surrounds it. It links the square with two arterial streets in a subtle way and encourages your eye to appreciate the buildings around it. Its not shouting about itself, rather softly bringing a new element to an established beautiful square.

Its also not a brash cube of glass and steel which everybody intrinsically hates before the get go.

So aye, I really like it. Nicely done Cooper Cromar.
the sultan of brooneye
#6 Posted by the sultan of brooneye on 8 Apr 2015 at 09:58 AM
Let's be honest, like it or loathe it - this is the lazy option....but a smart one from a business POV.

A 2 minute concept and sketch, a single sub-contractor does all the work for BAM and CC on the envelope, and takes all the risk/liability.

I think it is testimony to great business-sense. CC would get the same fee's if they have designed this with a million-and-one complex materials and ornate interface details.

I applaud the astute business acumen of CC on this project.

It's a lean, mean office machine.
#7 Posted by james on 8 Apr 2015 at 09:58 AM
This is just a helluva dated big over-developed banal spludge in cityscape terms. If I were to also look at this building compositionally in terms of let's say a crafted charcoal drawing, I can see all the scale, texture, structure and light of all the surrounding environment. The bit in the middle has just been wiped into a scaleless mush of nothingness, the only thing of which i can appreciate is its mass. On this evidence, I believe that the 'creators' behind this massive smear are just that - devoid of visual intelligence. Remind me never to go into Glasgow ever again. I look forward to the day this is demolished as it is a retrograde step if ever there was one. Slick-skin-op-effect belongs in Dallas, not Glasgow. This is what commercial neo-liberalism looks like culturally. I'm afraid to say that some commentators here are just too young to have any sense of historical, cultural or architectural history (Faber Dumas?) and just see buildings as no more than a piece of throwaway urban product design. This is not good.
#8 Posted by George on 8 Apr 2015 at 10:06 AM
Nice building and a huge improvement on what was there before. Looking forward to seeing something similar down at Atlantic Square.
Art Vandelay
#9 Posted by Art Vandelay on 8 Apr 2015 at 10:19 AM
It already looks horribly dated.
Big Chantelle
#10 Posted by Big Chantelle on 8 Apr 2015 at 11:06 AM
@Juurry said "Firstly, it's not concrete or modernist..."

So, it's made of wooden jenga blocks?

Thought not.
Tom Manley
#11 Posted by Tom Manley on 8 Apr 2015 at 11:38 AM
Terrible photos so kind of hard to get a good picture.. and not complete yet, but how does this building respond to the surroundings? Surely that should be essential in such a prominent location. Context and scale seem to have gone out the window here - from a purely visual point of view i almost miss the dirty concrete lump that was there before.
#12 Posted by Juurry on 8 Apr 2015 at 11:39 AM
@Big Chantelle It's not modernist as a style. Its a contemporary office building that sits in a grey area not really defined by an architectural style. If you were to say it was anything it'd be post modernist. And it may be concrete framed construction but the aesthetic is clearly not one of concrete.

My point was to not label it inappropriately with terms that connote something it doesn't represent.
Big Chantelle
#13 Posted by Big Chantelle on 8 Apr 2015 at 12:07 PM
@juurry said "Its a contemporary office building that sits in a grey area not really defined by an architectural style".

Yep. All the sandstone buildings around it -- neo-classic, traditional in style have no coherent style -- despite being predominantly classic in nature, aesthetic and proportion. And it's all grey despite it not actually being all grey. So because it's all grey, even though it isn't actually all grey, that's the justification for putting in an overscaled, glass-clad building which sticks out like a sore thumb and causes uncomfortable sun glare onto the surroundings because of its massive glass facade.

It's because of people like you (and fellow concrete modernists) that our city scapes keep getting mauled with crappy architecture. Why couldn't a beautiful Quinlan Terry-esque building have been put there? Oh, because the style fascists at all the architecture schools have determined in their lefty/liberal wisdom that his architecture is not part of their arrogant vision thus we get what they think is right.

Another Glasgow cityscape ruined by bad architecture all because the lefty concrete lovin' modernists have monopolised architeture discourse and because people have lost sight of beauty and context and are more concerned with appearing 'cool' and thus rejecting 'pastiche' even if building something 'pastiche' is often the correct approach.
Tom Manley
#14 Posted by Tom Manley on 8 Apr 2015 at 12:16 PM
@Big Chantelle - i get the feeling you think modern architecture should replicate styles from a bygone era... in my opinion there is nothing worse than modern buildings that despite even using high quality materials seek to recreate traditional street frontages... necessary if repairing a broken terrace or facade but pointless when done for the sake of just a wee nod and unimaginative response to the surroundings. When done well - modern architecture ( wonky glass and concrete loving garbage as you refer to ) is great against historical back drops... look forward not backwards eh?
Big Chantelle
#15 Posted by Big Chantelle on 8 Apr 2015 at 13:12 PM
@ Tom Manley: you said "i get the feeling you think modern architecture should replicate styles from a bygone era".

Instead of getting 'feelings' about my supposed ideas, how about actually just quoting what I did say. There's no need for suppositions that way and frankly -- you'll never be more of an authority on MY views than I am.

I dodn't think modern architecture should replicate styles from bygone eras per se. Just that in select areas -- namely areas with a predominant architectural style: Edinburgh New Town, Glasgow park Circus etc, respect should be given to the surroundings and building things out of stone, with intricate carvings and columns is a perfectly valid architecture too. Contrary to what the lefties think.

And how is inserting a glass box into a traditional cityscape forward looking? What is so forward about that? The fact it is different? And then what? Does it make people think and feel better? Does it make the world more enlightened?

And could you kindly refer me to the committee which has set out what constitutes the exact style of contemporary architecture? You see, I think we, the human race, after having lived through thousands of years of history, and accumulated much knowledge, have the ability to utilise different approaches to different situations. The modern approach to architecture inists on completely rejecting anything traditional because it is deemed, as u allude, 'backwards'. It is this lefty approach -- so concerned with 'coolness' and rejecting 'pastiche' even though it's never proved that it's bad, that is resulting in crap buildings getting put up in areas they don't belong.
#16 Posted by Juurry on 8 Apr 2015 at 13:29 PM
@Tom well said point! I totally agree.

@Big Chantelle You're taking my words out of their intended context. I said the building itself doesn't have a categorised style, yet if you were to push for a description, it could generally be phrased as a 'grey area' within the post modernist style. Along with a lot of commercial architecture within the last 10 years. I said nothing of the surrounding buildings it sits alongside.

You're clearly looking for an argument with somebody here to push your views of the neo-political landscape of modern architecture etc on. Whether right or wrong I think you're taking this one example of a different approach to enhancing the urban fabric of Glasgow a little too far and off on a tangent.
#17 Posted by "El" on 8 Apr 2015 at 13:45 PM
@ Big Chantelle

Your posts and the views that they contain are the reason I read Urban Realm.
Keep it up. I really enjoy a good laugh.
#18 Posted by Alf on 8 Apr 2015 at 15:18 PM
Can you clarify why you believe that any modern building design is the idea of a 'lefty' Architecture firm? What is the basis for this? Are all traditional designers (i.e. Quinlan Terry) mad mental right wingers?
Also, why so pent up? Your tone is quite accusatory in style. I appreciate you have an opinion at least, even if I don't necessarily agree with it.
Big Chantelles Mum
#19 Posted by Big Chantelles Mum on 8 Apr 2015 at 15:41 PM
Alf, I blame myself! I should have cuddled him more when he was younger. but now at 50 years of age he still lives with me. the darling!
Big Chantelle
#20 Posted by Big Chantelle on 8 Apr 2015 at 15:51 PM

the concrete modernist brigade is dominated by people of a lefty disposition. Liberals. Culture warriors.Guardian readers. Champagne socialists. Tracy Emin fans. A collective that thinks the purpose of life is to remove supposed taboos and in doing so that liberates humanity from the shackles of oppression yet what it really is is an attempt to denigrate society to a baseless level of moral decay where little effort is needed to exist. Dumbed down. Desperate.These lefties promote their vision of what is right -- and have successfully managed to dominated the public discourse. Picasso was a genius because the lefties say he was even though his painting was a puerile mess. Le Corbusiers concrete madness was 'forward thinking' and as 'beautiful as the pantheon' because lefties declared it so. Glasgow's tenements had to be ripped down rather than repaired and the populations uprooted form their homes to the utopias of Easterhouse and East Kilbride because the lefty culture warriors who shape our life made it so.

You see: buildings are the products of people and people are the product of their environment. To the extent that our environment promotes certain ideologies, people absorb their teachings from such things. There is not an architecture school that students can attend which would not automatically fail a student for proposing a classically inspired building -- even when it is 100% eco/enviromentally friendly and meets every demand imposed upon it -- all because the style fascism dominating our society compels us to design things to look like the way the lefty concrete modernist brigade wants it to.

There you go.

P.S. My name is Big Chantelle. Not BC.
#21 Posted by barry on 8 Apr 2015 at 16:15 PM
BC, you are so unbelievably narrow minded, it is comical, and completely renders any point you make useless. I am a lefty guardian reading socialist hopeful liberal etc etc and all the above. yet i think this is hands down the ugliest building in the city centre, and certainly the most inappropriate in its context. it's not all black or white. And your perception of some imposed style fascism i'm afraid just would not work or exist in this so called lefty liberal mindset, the two are pretty much mutually exclusive.
Big Chantelle's heid
#22 Posted by Big Chantelle's heid on 8 Apr 2015 at 16:19 PM
don't worry folks, I don't bother looking at the actual building that is in question - I see an article on here with a picture then go straight to copy and paste mode: filler text "concrete loving' modernists" more filler not related to the building "lefty" more unrelated guff "modernist brigade" more filler...

It's ok, it's not my aim to understand the things I say or place them in context to the projects on show, but please continue to give me an audience as it keeps me happy to be able to call everyone part of the concrete loving' modernist brigade even if I don't understand what that means.
#23 Posted by Alf on 8 Apr 2015 at 16:33 PM
@Big Chantelle,

I appreciate your riposte, even if almost evangelist in nature. I'll admit I don't appreciate your tone in the second paragraph ('You see:'), as I don't believe that you should be essentially lecturing all of us (apparent) non believers.

I respectfully disagree with your view that the Glasgow tenements were ripped down because of a socialist agenda, as everyone knows they were removed because of their slum status. Outlying satellite towns such as EK provided some of those displaced with an alternative (indeed, improved) lifestyle option. Have you lived in a tenement, or in a run-down area such as Govanhill where these so called slum conditions are re-emerging? What would you propose here? Do you simply think that repairing a building's condition somehow is a more intellectually-rich decision for the future of a building, never mind the souls that might be using the building in the first instance?

Also, you are essentially saying that everyone who does not hold your point of view is part of a 'dumbed down' sector of society, which is insulting to say the least, but from your previous essays, would be no less than expected.

By the way, I admittedly read the Guardian, but I am not a champagne socialist, or a socialist of any kind. I do like champagne though.

I do have one admiration for you however; how you manage to essay in a small comment box is beyond me.
Big Chantelle
#24 Posted by Big Chantelle on 8 Apr 2015 at 16:44 PM
@ post #21

"narrow minded" , "backwards", "pastiche" -- just some of the liberal terms used to denigrate people who stand up for integrity.

Big Chantelle
#25 Posted by Big Chantelle on 8 Apr 2015 at 16:46 PM
@Alf says sarcastically "I do have one admiration for you however; how you manage to essay in a small comment box is beyond me." whilst providing an essay of his own. #facepalm
#26 Posted by james on 8 Apr 2015 at 20:07 PM
I give up.
We are asked to comment on a specific building here, which may happen to have, or not have certain universal qualities attributable to it. Fair enough. Of the 23 comments so far, less than half of them make a point and some justify their view more than others and then the remaining majority of the comments degenerate into a discussion about Big Chantelle's point of view.
I thought it'd be more productive to have a debate about the meaning of this sizeable chunk of real estate in the urban realm and the societal / planning structure that permits and values such a building in Glasgow City Centre.
#6 makes a fair point, but this strikes me as an example of an unfettered market, or development for an economic argument at any planning cost.
Something, I believe is fundamentally wrong here and it's got bugger all to do with 'style' (whatever that is).
Matthew Ansell
#27 Posted by Matthew Ansell on 8 Apr 2015 at 20:45 PM
Nae Rolls Mate
#28 Posted by Nae Rolls Mate on 9 Apr 2015 at 08:25 AM
The comment based arguments on here, are getting more predictable and boring as the actual architecture posted.... *bookmark removed* see you later UR!
#29 Posted by barry on 9 Apr 2015 at 08:59 AM
If this does not win the carbunkle award for the ugliest building, I promise to stop and applaud it every time i walk past it.
#30 Posted by David on 9 Apr 2015 at 09:09 AM
So back to comments about the building then...

Personally I think it's rank, bland, and clumsy. Even if it were located in the business district it would still be a poor relation to some of the other buildings (and that doesn't say much!).

So for it to sit here, surrounded by A and B listed solid Victorian sandstone buildings, with not even a single hint of contextual response (not height, not material, not building line, not massing, not detail, not proportion, not solid to void (just yawnnnn void), fills me with a strong sense of pity for the what is possibly the most important space in the Victorian heart of Glasgow.

Us architects need to learn to have a bit more responsibility when it comes to trying to assert our own, often uneducated or narrowminded ideas / projects etc in sensitive locations. This site should have had a contemorary building which sits comfortably with its context, with a stone facade, deep reveal windows, and a building line which actually followed what is a very strong characteristic of the city centre.

An opportunity destroyed, in my opinion. Let's hope it doesn't take as long to knock it down as it took the previous building.
Big Dave
#31 Posted by Big Dave on 9 Apr 2015 at 10:23 AM
Big Chantelle = Troll
#32 Posted by domeafavour on 9 Apr 2015 at 10:38 AM
@Big Chantelle

Genuinely interested in why you associate modernism with left wing politics. It seems to dominate your arguments and your tone is always one of visceral contempt for 'the left' - but I don't understand the connection, can you elaborate?

Also, presumably this means your own politics are right wing? And how does being right wing produce better architecture / art than a 'lefty' / liberal perspective?

Finally, what about Mackintosh - in your view, was he a modernist?
small chantelle
#33 Posted by small chantelle on 9 Apr 2015 at 10:54 AM
Post #24

Narrow Minded - adjective - 'not willing to accept ideas or ways of behaving that are different from your own'

Backward - adverb - 'Returning to older and less effective ways'

Pastiche - noun - 'A piece of art, music, literature, etc. that intentionally copies the style of someone else's work or is intentionally in various styles, or the practice of making art in either of these ways'

er.... Yep!

#34 Posted by frustrated on 9 Apr 2015 at 11:35 AM

Basil Fawlty
#35 Posted by Basil Fawlty on 9 Apr 2015 at 11:39 AM
@barry @alf @juurry and others, can I suggest we don't engage with the monotonous rhetoric surrounding the 'concrete modernist brigade' from @Big Chantelle. That way, it will avoid every discussion board on Urban Realm ending up with a discussion about one persons ill informed view regardless of what the original article was about. Just sayin!
Basil Fawlty
#36 Posted by Basil Fawlty on 9 Apr 2015 at 11:44 AM
@frustrated Spot on!!
#37 Posted by Clando on 9 Apr 2015 at 11:54 AM
This building brought me to a standstill when I saw it for the first time the other week. Could not quite believe it was...there. It was its massing and proportions, how it completely overwhelms that corner, that had me staring for a bit wondering what went wrong. Then I went onto Renfrew St and saw the rump that's been made of the poor old Odeon and felt more depressed. I sometimes admire the relative brio of Glasgow's approach to development compared to my home city (ahem). Not on this particular occasion.
#38 Posted by Alf on 9 Apr 2015 at 12:35 PM
@ Basil Fawlty
Yes, I agree. It was a genuine attempt to understand the issues being raised by the poster however, I realise that this is not going to necessarily happen.
#39 Posted by barry on 9 Apr 2015 at 12:45 PM
Basil Faulty, i've given up on BC. pointless.
Clando, i agree entirely on this building, i disagree on the one behind the odeon. that for all its mighty mass and bulk has a level od articulation and aesthetic. this has nowt. David hits the nail on the head, oppurtunity destroyed. For an office building as well, which actually (with open floor plans such as these) as a type really lends itself well to unconstrained freeflowing facade design to any grid or rythm imaginable that other building types would not offer. yet none was put forward here.
#40 Posted by Dunflop on 9 Apr 2015 at 20:15 PM
This is a class development. End of story
Sounds like here a lot of Jealousy from other designers who do get invited to deliver such projects.
Well done BAM & Cooper Cromar.
Mac Mac
#41 Posted by Mac Mac on 10 Apr 2015 at 08:39 AM
I think you mean Glass development!
It's obviously controversial this building but I would add my voice to say that it is totally wrong for the site and I am not jealous. I don't think it would matter which school / style of architecture you belong to, this is just bad architecture and sets a very bad precedent for the future destruction of Glasgow's architectural just shows a sad state of our civic society.
#42 Posted by David on 10 Apr 2015 at 08:49 AM
@ Dunflop

There is no jealousy here so please do not insinuate that there is, otherwise I might be tempted to say that I suspect you were involved in the project.

If this is what you think is a class development then heaven help us. You're welcome to your opinions though.
#43 Posted by james on 10 Apr 2015 at 09:03 AM
See also Michael Laird Architects Bothwell Street proposals.

There is a spectre now haunting Glasgow. Howard Roark is on amphetamines.

We are witnessing 2 things here: firstly, the birth of the super practice as God that needn't bother with all that architectonic stuff, or with a hopelessly acquiescent planning system.

And secondly, with the movement of capital from London as that skyline is ram-jam fu' with their own sex toys. Capital needs another metropolis to play with.

And so sprach Zarathustra. We are at the mercy here of capital. Any talk of architecture here is meaningless against this anti-cultural nihilism.

What we are seeing here is the prophetic embodiment of The Fountainhead.

Scary stuff indeed. Human life reduced to pipettes within a tupperware box.
#44 Posted by Dunflop on 10 Apr 2015 at 10:04 AM
@ David

No involvement in the project whatsoever

In fact I sit on a very opposing side of the fence

I might be tempted to say that your tone is exactly why Architects now have such a diminished role in the process
#45 Posted by David on 10 Apr 2015 at 11:03 AM
@ Dunflop

My 'tone' was simply a response to your insinuation that I am in some way jealous of the fact that it wasn't me who was involved in this building. I apologise if it struck a nerve.

You have your opinion, I have mine. Seems more people hate this building than love it, unsurprisingly.

You've lost me on your last comment though.
Dinner TIME
#46 Posted by Dinner TIME on 10 Apr 2015 at 11:08 AM
This is a stinker. Absolute stinker.

Couldn't be less contextual / considered; extremely lazy and ugly to boot. This building would be passable in a less prominent location, but where it is it is a miserable fail.

#47 Posted by Chris on 10 Apr 2015 at 12:56 PM
#44 "Dunflop" knock you back too for a Hub
#48 Posted by Dunflop on 10 Apr 2015 at 22:14 PM

Merely stating that whilst the so called designers on this site are bitching about other peoples "lack of talent" others are actually delivering projects.

Its the Arrogance of most of the contributors to this site that has relegated the Architectual profession to the Second Rate Sub-Contractor Status that it is today.

All the best guys.
Neil C
#49 Posted by Neil C on 11 Apr 2015 at 10:50 AM
@47 the fact that Dunlop does not deign to get involved in important SFT initiatives is nothing to be proud of. In fact it underlines his utter arrogance I agree.
#50 Posted by Chris on 11 Apr 2015 at 16:08 PM
Neil C my post was aimed at 44 "Dunflop" who would have been better posting as "Spineless" for as far as I know Alan D had nothing to do with this thread or this building. As for not getting "involved" in Hubs I think that is to his credit. I wish we were not having to waste time on bids or dependant on contractors and the Scottish Futures Trust to keep things going and people employed. Life and work would be a whole lot better.
#51 Posted by David on 13 Apr 2015 at 14:25 PM
@ Dunflop (re post #48)

Let me just get this straight.

I certainly am not bitching about other peoples 'lack of talent' as you suggest. Re-read my posts and you will see this. I made a comment regarding my opinion of the building, and backed it up with various reasons (which I feel are valid and justifiable) why I think it is a poor design, and I also made a more general statement that, in my opinion, not enough attention is payed to appropriate design in relation to context in much of what is built currently. This most definitely is not arrogance.

For your information, I am delivering projects, so again you are wrong to suggest otherwise.

Also, I'm noting that I did not actually use the phrase 'lack of talent' so please do not misquote me.

#52 Posted by iona on 8 Jul 2015 at 16:41 PM
Am no expert on architecture and am not a designer but I do live in this city and on purely visual terms this is a hideous carbuncle, which is completely unsympathetic to the surrounding environment. Perhaps if you'd placed it in a different area of the city it wouldn't look so grim - though I doubt it. Visually jarring and not in a nice way. I think that the city planners have taken leave of their senses - again. Amy I displaying arrogance, or bitching? - not if everyone's allowed to have their opinion. We're going to have to look at the damn thing every day. Embarrassing

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