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B-listed Glasgow warehouse to make way for student housing

July 3 2015

B-listed Glasgow warehouse to make way for student housing
NFU Mutual and Salmon Harvester Properties have submitted plans for the demolition of a B-listed building on the corner of Miller and Argyle Street after claiming that a façade retention as originally envisaged was not possible due to the construction techniques employed.

As such it is proposed to demolish the eight storey former warehouse to make way for a nine storey new build student housing scheme, constituting 130 bedrooms suitable for future adaption to office or hotel use.

Faced in rainscreen panels with a light stone finish punctured by anodised aluminium box windows, under a mansard style roof, the scheme will incorporate a courtyard lightwell to its western elevation with a view to future expansion across the neighbouring plot.

In their design statement Darling Associates wrote: “The blank northern and western façades will be framed to help reduce the visual impact of a blank gable. It is proposed to provide a different pattern/finish to the light coloured rain-screen cladding to create visual interest.

“The pinnacle/crown of the building is separately defined through a series of elegant projecting dormers, creating a rhythmic appearance within the mansard style roof. Base/street level luminance will focus on retail display and will also be used to help define the student accommodation entrance.

“It is considered that the slim line elevation to Argyle Street provides an elegant proportion. The elevation to Miller Street increases in width creating perspective with the fenestration treatment in keeping with the residential nature of the merchant houses further along the street.”


#1 Posted by David on 3 Jul 2015 at 14:38 PM
Firstly the existing building should not be demolished. The structure was secured and the building made watertight only in the last few years.
Secondly, what makes you think that by knocking down a tall historically important listed building you can build a cheap as chips, poor quality piece of rubbish like this in it's place, justifying its height no doubt 'because it's no higher than the building that was there before'.
Look at it!!!...seriously, Look At It!!! It's twice the height of everything else!

Who's kidding who here? 'Pinnacle', 'Crown', 'Elegant'? These 3 words have got nothing at all to do with the building portrayed in this image.

This is the worst yet. Come on GCC, we simply cannot let developers destroy the important buildings, rich heritage and quality urban fabric of our city centres.
#2 Posted by David on 3 Jul 2015 at 14:42 PM
Sorry, it's actually almost 3 TIMES the height of the neighbouring buildings.

But do not fear folks, as 'the blank northern and western facades will be framed out to help reduce the visual impact of a blank gable'.

Yup that's right. Half the buildings appearance is made up of 2 clearly visible elevations that have no windows. They will be FRAMED though!!!...exciting eh?!!!
#3 Posted by Charlie_ on 3 Jul 2015 at 14:49 PM
The problem in that block isn't the height of the 8 story building, it's the 2 story retail bomb-shelters next door. If anything needs demolished & replaced it's them.
#4 Posted by Ironman on 3 Jul 2015 at 16:42 PM
Absolutely disgusted by this. Please let this be the building that people get behind and say 'enough is enough' in terms of destroying our architectural legacy.

Absolutely disgraceful.
#5 Posted by Billy on 3 Jul 2015 at 20:22 PM
Horrible. Would anyone want to live in that? The b listed building so much nicer. What is wrong with architects today? Do they have pride in their designs? Just when you think it cannot get worse it does. Already dated . Poor students expected to live I that.
#6 Posted by wonky on 3 Jul 2015 at 20:39 PM
This is utterly soul-destroying. Who are these total clowns- surely but surely they must be from outside the city? London venture capitalists with absolutely no respect for the built heritage of our great city. Lastly I have absolutely no confidence in the buffoons in the council to defend the architectural heritage of our city- specifically Argyle Street (which has had enough violence done it as it is)- as others have said: there are perfectly poor or mediocre buildings in the proximity that should go for one of Glasgow's major thoroughfares.
#7 Posted by Robert on 3 Jul 2015 at 22:31 PM
NO! As wonky notes, Argyle Street has suffered enough. This is appalling.
#8 Posted by RJB on 3 Jul 2015 at 23:07 PM
Shocking, J.A. Campbell's work is awesome , I think his building on Hope street is one of the the best facades in the city.
#9 Posted by Fraser on 4 Jul 2015 at 00:27 AM
Anybody know if there will be a public consultation period on this?
#10 Posted by Ironman on 4 Jul 2015 at 07:41 AM
Can anyone tell me who/how you go about complaining about things like this? Is there a general place you do this for building proposals or is it worth raising it with the local cooncilor.
Edward McGurn
#11 Posted by Edward McGurn on 4 Jul 2015 at 11:49 AM
Another complete disregard for Glasgow's heritage, Argyle Street already has such little charm left, the loss of this B Listed building will do it no favours! How do we go about complaining about this?
#12 Posted by Billy on 4 Jul 2015 at 14:45 PM
Someone has to be accountable for these appalling decisions . Surely no other city would allow the recent proposed developments to go through. Do the people responsible have a grudge against Glasgow. We need a body of independent Glaswegians to have an input into the welfare of our city. Could it be the approvers are needing a new challenge. Like a change of job. Maybe we do have to lobby our MPs to alert them to this vandalism of our city.
#13 Posted by David on 4 Jul 2015 at 15:29 PM
Another piece of soulless rubbish to replace a listed building!! Keep it up gcc...literally!!
#14 Posted by Jamie on 5 Jul 2015 at 14:18 PM
#15 Posted by Graham on 5 Jul 2015 at 15:37 PM
Click on the link in the article to the planning application on the GCC website, and write a letter of objection to the demolition of this building. It lies within the Central Glasgow conservation area, so in principle its demolition should not be approved. Write your objections directly to GCC, it is the only way that we can have any infuence, if any at all, on this decision.
Kate Latto
#16 Posted by Kate Latto on 6 Jul 2015 at 09:44 AM
'a façade retention as originally envisaged was not possible due to the construction techniques employed.'.

eh, employ different construction techniques?! That is the lamest excuse for demolishing a building I have ever heard. You should be ashamed of yourselves Darling Associates. Must. Try. Harder.
#17 Posted by Ollieman on 6 Jul 2015 at 12:42 PM
Must save this building from demolition!!!
Phil Stirling
#18 Posted by Phil Stirling on 6 Jul 2015 at 13:02 PM
Why can't they use the existing B listed building and convert it to student accommodation. Why bother listing buildings if they always find an excuse to knock them down. Unfortunately as we all know, the Council couldn't give a flying f**k
#19 Posted by wee_davy on 6 Jul 2015 at 13:36 PM
'Captain' Darling Associates seem to be the usual London mob designing for the regions. pity they've likely never been to Glasgow and understood why their destruction of this building is an issue for the locals.
poor form chaps.
#20 Posted by qmd on 6 Jul 2015 at 13:43 PM
no point complaining here as GCC won't get the message.
Any idea where to express our concerns?
Tom Cochrane
#21 Posted by Tom Cochrane on 6 Jul 2015 at 19:17 PM
No. No. No.
A disgusting idea.
#22 Posted by stephen on 6 Jul 2015 at 20:35 PM
The architect's response to this is poor but, that aside, what were they to do? A professional and knowledgable developer asks them to design a building of a certain area on this site, because they know they can build a case. Turning the work away is no answer. They could only do their best at turd polishing.
In my opinion this site can only take 4-5 stories max. I can't say I've any love for the existing building; listed or otherwise. It's an anomaly, as will its successor be unless GCC have the balls to insist on a new building being lower and the inevitable subsequent appeal fail.
Object on GCC's site if you don't like it (link within article).
#23 Posted by wonky on 6 Jul 2015 at 21:46 PM
Stephen in all fairness you're talking gibberish. "It's an anomaly"- what does that even mean? You say the building is out of proportion for the street- but that is not the fault of the building but of the poor low-fi suburban design enforced on that stretch of Argyle Street.
It is not B-Listed by accident. It is a typical Glasgow office building of the Edwardian Period largely inspired by American commercial architecture of the time. A sort of proto-skyscraper with a unique Glasgow accent to its expression. Campbell used ashlar street elevations to create the illusion of perceptual uplift- have you looked at the detailing? The granite at street level, uniquely carved capitals, the cartouche stenciling, the detailing & the Glasgow Style fenestration windows.
The Architect John A Campbell was a first rate architect who designed some of the city's best office buildings- the corner of Hope/West George Street is widely regarded as his best- & his memory deserves better than this turd as a replacement. Lastly the building sits in the central Glasgow conservation area, so on principal, it should be extremely difficult to gain planning permission for the demolition of a B-Listed structure. Let's hope it stands for something.

#24 Posted by AB72 on 7 Jul 2015 at 10:43 AM
As Charlie says above it is the adjacent two-storey bomb-shelters that should be getting demolished and replaced with buildings of decent substance which compliment the listed building - both in terms of height and design quality.
#25 Posted by killermont on 7 Jul 2015 at 11:37 AM
Sorry folks, I'm in the know on this one. The building dates from a transition period where steel frames weren't fully trusted to support large buildings consequently the steel frame is fully built in to the stone facade, with as little 50mm cover to the steelwork. The steel is corroding and the stonework is spalling and would continue to do so even if a facade retention was implemented. It was detailed without the benefit of an understanding of the durability of the materials involved. Unfortunately this means the facade has no long-term future.
#26 Posted by Stephen on 7 Jul 2015 at 12:03 PM
Ha! Thanks respecting alternative opinions Wonky! Anomaly means: ‘something that deviates from what is normal’ for the record.
Campbell’s building is and always has been an anomaly; much taller than adjacent buildings. Not sure anyone could argue differently. Look at historical pictures of the site (e.g. within the DAS submitted in this application - section 1, page 14). The Argyle St and Miller St facades are delicately handled (much much better so than the new proposals!) but two elevations don’t add anything good to the streetscape because it was never intended to stand alone. I don’t think everything on Argyle St should be made 8-9 stories just to tie in with it; and don’t get me started on the hulking Debanhams shop opposite, overshadowing the whole street! Just because it’s old and has pretty clothes doesn’t make it sacrosanct. But that’s just my opinion.
All that aside, I’m not advocating demolition and definitely not replacement with this catalogue built tat. Just proposing that using the original as an excuse to build to this height isn’t acceptable to me.
#27 Posted by Bob on 7 Jul 2015 at 12:37 PM
Is this a joke? Hasn't Glasgow learnt enough having destroyed much of its Victorian/Edwardian architecture in the city and turning it from one of the best built cities in Europe into one of the most mediocre places no one will want to visit (apart from a few students who will want to leave as soon as they qualify and can find somewhere which hasn't been turned into a dump to live) woo hoo well done!
Billy BS
#28 Posted by Billy BS on 7 Jul 2015 at 15:34 PM
Who was John A Campbell anyway?
Paul Sweeney
#29 Posted by Paul Sweeney on 7 Jul 2015 at 17:50 PM
There must be a viable engineering solution to enable façade retention and to tie it into a new steel frame. Alternatively, hand dismantling and reconstruction of the ashlar façade using as much of the original stone and incorporating all original sculptural elements should be insisted upon, given its status as a B-listed building within the Central Conservation Area.
Grant stewart
#30 Posted by Grant stewart on 7 Jul 2015 at 19:57 PM
New building is characterless
#31 Posted by ALEX on 7 Jul 2015 at 23:01 PM
Terrible idea. Buildings are listed for a reason. The facade should be kept. The piece of dross they will put up in its place will be an eyesore and only takeaway another treasured piece of the heart and soul of our amazing city.
#32 Posted by Sophie on 8 Jul 2015 at 09:27 AM
Short sighted, short term, profit driven, depressing...and rather ugly. Compromises the area still further... Dreadful idea.
Alasdair Gordon
#33 Posted by Alasdair Gordon on 8 Jul 2015 at 10:54 AM
As an incomer to the west of Scotland I simply cannot believe (1) how many wonderful buildings have been knocked down in Glasgow, when they could have been modernised and given a future useful life of 100 years at least and (2) how many listed buildings have been left to rot until they are in such a dangerous state that demolition seems the only option. This is an iconic building. If it cannot be saved realistically is it really not possible to construct a new building and yet dress it with the existing frontage? Maybe I'm being too simplistic?
Thomas Hamilton
#34 Posted by Thomas Hamilton on 8 Jul 2015 at 10:57 AM
A planning application to demolish the B-Listed building at the corner of Miller Street and Argyle Street has been submitted to Glasgow City Council. The building
It was originally planned to 'makeover' the building – retaining the facade
To object to this building being demolished please email your politicians via
And/or add objections via the Council's website quoting the reference "15/01492/DC "
Images via Urban Realm and Thomas Mathie/Flickr
More images of the building itself

Listing,HL:32611,50 Argyle Street

Anne Mackie
#35 Posted by Anne Mackie on 8 Jul 2015 at 12:39 PM
Why not take it down stone by stone and rebuild the fascade as it is The interior can be built to their specifications and we would still have an architecturally pleasing building on Argyle St.,
#36 Posted by kris on 8 Jul 2015 at 17:03 PM
As much as I'd love to see the old one refurbished and brought back into use, I would rather see a new building go up than have the old one sit there and decay.
A Local Pleb
#37 Posted by A Local Pleb on 8 Jul 2015 at 20:16 PM
Whilst I'd rather the building was not demolished the practical issues highlighted by #25 illustrate how difficult it can be to reuse some structures. This scenario is similar to that surrounding he Lion Chambers on Hope St. It was an experimental ferro-concrete structure and is suffering from extreme corrosion of the reinforcement. Many buildings lie neglected because of the technical and economic challenges that make them unviable for re-use - unfortunately so many of the replacement development convey any sense of innovation character. It's disappointing that so many are slipping through the planning system and the scrutiny of the urban design group.
Edward McGurn
#38 Posted by Edward McGurn on 10 Jul 2015 at 21:00 PM

I have started a petition to save this building, please use the link below to sign it.
Many Thanks

#39 Posted by JEDAye on 11 Jul 2015 at 17:27 PM
#25 killermont I appreciate the issues due to the original construction, however I disagree that "the facade has no long-term future".

The Pre Consultation Report indicates that "The steel frame can only be accessed for repair / replacement through course by course dismantling of stonework and subsequent rebuilding".

The argument put forward by the architects for not doing this is that the "replacement facade will not be original and its historic value will be lost. Rebuilding the facade as per the original will entail reproducing defective detailing."

Therefore as #29 Paul Sweeney indicated, there is a viable engineering solution to enable the facade to be retained, that student accommodation could be built around.

For the true insult to us all is not the proposed demolition of this building but the poor substitute that is being proposed in its place.
Paul Sweeney
#40 Posted by Paul Sweeney on 13 Jul 2015 at 15:11 PM
Text of my objection letter:

"The demolition of this rare, Category B listed building, with its unique combination of Mannerist and Glasgow Style details, inspired by American steel framed buildings of the early 20th century, would rob Glasgow of an outstanding architectural asset that would be irreplaceable. The proposed replacement building would lead to a complete loss of the historical and architectural significance of this site and to the degradation of the quality of architectural heritage within the Central Conservation Area and wider streetscape within the city centre.

While accepting the significant structural challenges that the building faces, as accepted by GCC and HS, it is clear that the report by the consulting architects in their Justification Statement for Demolition does offer a viable option to retain a significant level of architectural quality in the development, by sympathetically undertaking a partial de-construction of the Miller Street and Argyle Street facades of the building, retaining as much of the original, highly decorative red sandstone ashlar as possible, and then reutilising those materials to reconstruct high quality facades that would be largely true to the original aesthetics of the existing listed building.

This would result in a development of significantly higher architectural quality than the replacement building proposed and also therefore ensure that the historical integrity of the Conservation Area is safeguarded.

The justification report outlines the risk of this approach is that the historic integrity of the building might be lost, but to then propose complete destruction of the facades as a better solution is illogical, as it would lead to a far worse outcome by that measure.

I urge GCC to apply conditions that require salvage and sympathetic reinstatement of the existing facades in order to retain the amenity and quality of the Conservation Area. This would be an enlightened decision that ensures the city acts to safeguard our built heritage."
Kathleen McDaid
#41 Posted by Kathleen McDaid on 14 Nov 2015 at 20:40 PM
I cannot believe this is under consideration, we should preserving these treasured jewels that we have not pulling out the heart of Glasgow architecture. I like many, think our old buildings are beautiful and have not been bested by the carbuncle boxes that have replaced old gems ripped down in the past. I always say you should always look up when walking in Glasgow at the remaining old character buildings.
I hope the powers that be do not allow this tragedy to happen.

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