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180,000sq/ft office scheme to complete Glasgow city block

August 7 2015

180,000sq/ft office scheme to complete Glasgow city block
Titan Investors have submitted plans for a 10 storey office block at 200 Renfield Street offering 180,000 sq/ft of grade A accommodation, completing the redevelopment of an entire city block in Glasgow.

Fronting the junction with Renfrew Street Broadway Two adopts a stepped profile to align with the lower frontage of the earlier Broadway One development, presenting a solid fenestration natural stone to the north and south and more transparent curtain wall glazing to the east.

In their design statement Cooper Cromar noted: “The overall building footprint has been developed to create a positive urban corner at the junction of Renfield Street and Renfrew Street. The building footprint has been designed on its eastern edge to step back from this key urban corner through the utilisation of a stepped profile to align with the frontage of Broadway One and to enhance visibility into the wider development site. The east façade will be more transparent in nature and this will be contrasted by a more solid fenestration to the south and north facades.”

The site, formerly occupied by STV’s studios, has already been cleared awaiting development.
Broadway Two will complete the city block
Broadway Two will complete the city block
The scheme supercedes an earlier proposal by IVG and Ediston Properties
The scheme supercedes an earlier proposal by IVG and Ediston Properties


#1 Posted by Roddy on 7 Aug 2015 at 10:18 AM
what's up with Glasgow city council just now, Designers are being forced to produce this sort of faceless, uninspiring architecture to achieve approvals in prominent city centre locations. I appreciate there is a commercial side which means the figures need to stack up but there is at least 3 schemes that I know of within a short distance of each other which, with the exception of a few material changes, all look very similar! this sort of architecture is ruining Glasgow's identity.
#2 Posted by Egbert on 7 Aug 2015 at 10:22 AM
Who are the architects, UR?
#3 Posted by UR on 7 Aug 2015 at 10:35 AM
sorry, its cooper cromar
#4 Posted by james on 7 Aug 2015 at 10:35 AM
#1 Wholly agree.
The following general comment also applies here:

There is an industrialised spectre haunting architecture.

The rarified world of corporate commercial architecture and the practise and products of it, in the main (with notable exceptions), barely merit the description of architecture at all.

The practise of commercial architecture is chiefly concerned with viability and profit. It would not exist otherwise. It is not concerned with the art and craft of making architecture. As part of the industrial complex, commercial architecture is concerned with the assembly of components into a unitised structure and the insertion of this into the built environment. This is often what is referred to as 'ugly'.

Recent examples of this 'ugliness' are found in BAM in Queen Street, Michael Laird's office building in Bothwell Street (with risible concessions made to bureaucracy as if they have any idea what the issues are).

Architecture has to concern itself primarily with 'making', otherwise it will just be the embodiment of ugliness and no amount of sophisticated spin or semantics found in design statements will alter that.
#5 Posted by Alf on 7 Aug 2015 at 10:58 AM
Could it be argued that this 'simplistic' looking building being approved is to do with the fact that there is no real architectural 'language' in this neck of the Glasgow woods? Within eyesight of this, there is a total mish-mash of building types, styles and dates, heights and quality. How would a new building like this effectively fit into the surrounding environment anyway?

I should say that I don't like this either, just pondering over it.
ella h
#6 Posted by ella h on 7 Aug 2015 at 11:37 AM
Cooper Cromar are the main offenders in this game. Seem to specialise in bland office spaces that appeal to commercial developers. Its such a shame they didn't go broke in the recession -but given that they probably charge as little fee as possible it is sad that they are probably thriving. That Queen Street thing they did is a crime against architecture.
#7 Posted by Egbert on 7 Aug 2015 at 12:07 PM
#1 it's also called fashion. 5-10 years ago it was jiggly-windowed barcode elevations, as per Keppie's Johnny-come-lately just completing at St Vincent 'Plaza'; 15 years ago it was curvy-facaded curtain-wall-glazing-plus-metal-panel jobs with oversailing ski-jump roofs, as per Keppie's blocks at Broomielaw; back in the 90s it was wall-to-wall blond sandstone and Mockintosh fenestration. You can trace the trends through the usual suspects' output over the years. Personally I don't mind the current vogue for increased solidity and slender vertical/gridded elements breaking up the glazing - to me it's truer to the spirit of Glasgow's early-20th century grid architecture, with a good nod to the best of the post-war period.
#8 Posted by Roddy on 7 Aug 2015 at 12:08 PM
Its just an easy route to Glasgow city Council to drive buildings to look like this because in turn it causes no real conflict or difference of opinion and therefore makes their lives easier.

In this case even the justification is weak, this does not create a positive urban corner and considering, in reality that its filtering views, at street level, toward Tesco bank,the Herald building and a lifeless car park courtyard...hmmm I'm not sure that the weight put on the through route is particularly strong either. I don't believe city centre commercial architecture needs to be so bland to stack up financially and to me its just toothless and yet another missed opportunity.
#9 Posted by james on 7 Aug 2015 at 12:41 PM
Dear egbert and alf,

Without getting into a stooshie (please resist!), i think the point is being missed and gets unnecessarily confused by talking about 'style' and a 'lack of context' with which to respond to.

For me, there is simply a lack of 'making' in this proposal and others in the city centre and with that there is a lack of 'quality', irrespective of the period of time in which the work is done.

Of course, 'making and quality' are 2 components that it is not in the interests of commercial architecture to pursue as they are contrary to the interests of their clients, in that all they care for is as quick a turn around for their money as their 'architects' can achieve.

For definitions of making and quality, one could make a good start with the writings of Robert Pirsig.

Just sayin mind :-)
#10 Posted by qmd on 7 Aug 2015 at 12:50 PM
I guess what they do is just copy and paste from their previous projects. No design element in this at all. They call themselves architects?
Aunt Sally
#11 Posted by Aunt Sally on 7 Aug 2015 at 12:52 PM
#6 It's such a shame they didn't go broke in the recession...Ouch! Brilliant but true.
#12 Posted by Alf on 7 Aug 2015 at 12:59 PM
James, I agree that regardless of what is going on around a proposed development, it should have a 'quality' of its own, which as I alluded to earlier, is lacking in this particular proposal.

Highlighted by the proposed student digs at Miller Street/Argyle Street. At least if the original building is shot to pieces, conjure up a replacement that has some redeeming qualities. Glasgow will be full of bland boxes before long.
Neil C
#13 Posted by Neil C on 7 Aug 2015 at 13:55 PM
Not all commercial architecture is poor or lacks quality or bland boxes. Glasgow has a few very fine office buildings, completed in the last ten years. I'm looking at one now, "Sentinel"
Big Chantelle
#14 Posted by Big Chantelle on 7 Aug 2015 at 14:02 PM
Another bland, uninspiring concrete/glass mess gracing Glasgow's cityscape.

To think, all you lefties/liberals who actively mock and deride architecture of the traditional/classical persuasion have aided and abetted this kind of dross which is now the de-facto style 'enhancing' our urban realms.

Do you think this building will be remembered in 20, 30, 40 years as anything great? Nope. Do you think anyone with functioning eyesight actually thinks it's any good?

But you lot keep on mocking all the backward 'pastiche' architecture. Because this building is just oh, so 'forward thinking'. L to the O to the L.
#15 Posted by james on 7 Aug 2015 at 14:08 PM
-#4 'with notable exceptions'.
Whether the sentinel building comes into this category is another matter, but by what is meant and understood by the term, 'making', i think not.

To illustrate what is meant here, I would say that the Theatre Royal extension is at least crafted and made.
Neil C
#16 Posted by Neil C on 7 Aug 2015 at 14:27 PM
Of course, the Theatre Royal extension. forgive me James . Often you can appear to be a pompous tw#t that I forget how clever you are.
#17 Posted by james on 7 Aug 2015 at 14:31 PM
Dear BC,

In the film of Ayn Rand's book, 'The Fountainhead', there is a scene where unwittingly, there are two terrible, terrifying and dreadful visions of society portrayed. This happens when the protagonist, Howard Roark (played by Gary Cooper) unveils his 'modernist' utopian dream to the client of 'truth and purity', only for them to go behind his back and change his design to look something akin to a proposed conservative classical 'palace of the soviets' under Stalin's reign. For me, both proposals represent views of the world that are equally terrifying.

I would advocate a more human and humane architecture, warts and all. Like it or not, the world has changed since the 18th and 19th centuries. I thought that the last death-throes of classicism occurred in po-mo such as in Ricardo Bofill etc.?
#18 Posted by james on 7 Aug 2015 at 14:37 PM
Nice. Like it. :-)
Big Chantelle
#19 Posted by Big Chantelle on 7 Aug 2015 at 14:54 PM
@James #17

Why would Stalin's building terrify you? The classical overtones offend you? Do you feel terrified by the American Skyscraper? Or is just something specifically Russian, something non modernist, something which does not conform to your own ideology which results in these feelings you have James?

You said "I would advocate a more human and humane architecture". That's a very eloquent and moving sentence James. But you are doing this lefty thing -- words for effect. Your words are designed to sound grand but the reality that they result in is the mess of architecture we see today. Enjoying your future of white render, zinc clad and concrete are you James?

"Like it or not, the world has changed since the 18th and 19th centuries". And there you go again James: LYING. At no point have I advocated living in the 18th century or 19th century. So please for future discourse do not attribute ideas to me which I do not actively promote. Thanks James in advance. But nonetheless, many things from the past are in fact OUTSTANDING examples for us to use today.Just because they happened in the past is not reason to dismiss their application to contemporary society. A Glasgow tenement built in the 1890s is materially, spacially, technologically and aesthetically superior to today's efforts -- unless of course you consider Glasgow Harbour to be a success. Sandstone versus stained white render. High ceilings versus value engineered spaces designed to give the developer maximum profit. Glazed Glaswegian wall tiles versus a feature wallpaper from the Lawrence llwelyn Bowen Homebase range.

"I thought that the last death-throes of classicism occurred in po-mo such as in Ricardo Bofill etc." Arrogant concrete modernist advocates like you like to act very deterministically about such things but alas, there was no death of classcicism etc. There was however an ideological war led by people of your ilk who tried to undermine one architecture to impose your own visions onto society.

Give me a Stunning Stalinist skyscraper anyday over the drab rubbish today.

#20 Posted by james on 7 Aug 2015 at 15:13 PM
Dear Big Chantelle,

I had a thought regarding your persistent name-calling of almost all architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries as being the work of the 'leftie concrete glass modernist brigade'.

I thought it might be not a bad idea to write down a simple list (albeit fairly limited) of the names of architects in this period whose work I have seen and read about.

Please take the time to read through these names and the canon of their work that springs to mind:

Alvar Aalto, Tadao Ando, Ron Arad, Gunnar Asplund, Luis Barragán, Geoffrey Bawa, Peter Behrens, Hendrik Petrus Berlage, Ricardo Bofill, Oriol Bohigas, Mario Botta, Marcel Breuer, Gordon Bunshaft, Santiago Calatrava, Hugh Casson, Serge Chermayeff, David Chipperfield, Wells Coates, Josep Antoni Coderch, Terence Conran, Peter Cook, Le Corbusier, Charles Correa, Theo van Doesburg, Jane Drew, Willem Marinus Dudok, Charles Eames, Ray Eames, Peter Eisenman, Aldo van Eyck, Terry Farrell, Hassan Fathy, Sverre Fehn, Hermann Finsterlin, Norman Foster, Maxwell Fry, Buckminster Fuller, Antoni Gaudí, Frank Gehry, Bruce Goff, Ern? Goldfinger, Michael Graves, Nicholas Grimshaw, Walter Gropius, Hector Guimard, Zaha Hadid, Hugo Häring, John Hejduk, Hans Hollein, Michael Hopkins, Victor Horta, Arata Isozaki, Arne Jacobsen, Helmut Jahn, Philip Johnson, Louis Kahn, Jan Kaplický, Michel de Klerk, Rem Koolhaas, Károly Kós, Léon Krier, Kisho Kurokawa, Denys Lasdun, Daniel Libeskind, El Lissitzky, Adolf Loos, Berthold Lubetkin, Wassili Luckhardt, Edwin Lutyens, Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Imre Makovecz, Richard Meier, Konstantin Melnikov, Erich Mendelsohn, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Enric Miralles, Rafael Moneo, Richard Neutra, Oscar Niemeyer
Pier Luigi Nervi, Jean Nouvel, Frei Otto, John Pawson, J.J.P. Oud, I.M. Pei, César Pelli, Renzo Piano, Jože Ple?nik, Hans Poelzig, John Portman, Cedric Price, Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Gerrit Rietveld, Richard Rogers, Aldo Rossi, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen, Moshe Safdie, Carlo Scarpa, Hans Scharoun, Rudolf Schindler, Giles Gilbert Scott, Walter Segal, Harry Seidler, Richard Seifert, Joseph Lluís Sert, Alvaro Siza, Alison Smithson, Peter Smithson, Paolo Soleri, Albert Speer, Basil Spence, Rudolf Steiner, Robert Stern, James Stirling, Edward Durrell Stone, Kenzo Tange, Bruno Taut, Giuseppe Terragni, Quinlan Terry, Heinrich Tessenow, Bernard Tschumi, Jørn Utzon, Henry Van de Velde, Robert Venturi, Clough Williams-Ellis & Frank Lloyd Wright.

Obviously the above all too brief list is not definable.

It is infinite.

Then I thought, what a dull, dull world you must live in.
Big Chantelle
#21 Posted by Big Chantelle on 7 Aug 2015 at 15:26 PM
@James #20 said:

"Then I thought, what a dull, dull world you must live in."

Tell me about it James. The abundance of concrete and stained white render isn't exactly bright and cheery.

But when I need cheering up, I can just take a stroll along some nice urban areas -- which praise the Lord, do still exist.

P.S. You have outstanding copy/paste skills.
#22 Posted by David on 7 Aug 2015 at 15:51 PM
Get a room guys, you're as bad as each other.
Nairn's Bairn
#23 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 7 Aug 2015 at 19:37 PM
#20 Great list - and I'm sure if any of them were to design a decent office building in Glasgow then Chantelle would applaud it.

But we're talking about Cooper Cromar here.
J Stewart
#24 Posted by J Stewart on 8 Aug 2015 at 19:40 PM
I only hope that whatever building is constructed on this vacant [ Ex-Parking Site ] takes into consideration the parking requirements that are needed for this area of the city. It’s a well-established fact that there is very little affordable parking in this area for ordinary residential people who live in the area and the travellers who come to work in the city.
I also hope the developers consider the future parking hardship with the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) removing the parking facilities in the Buchanan Galleries, together with the removal of the parking facilities that were on this site and last but not least the hundreds of cars belonging to the people who will come to work in this new office block construction.
I only hope that Glasgow Planning expertise will insist on the highest parking requirement as per the TRANS 4 - Vehicle Parking Standards which will mean there is a minimum requirement of at least 332 spaces to be provided.
I also hope that some of the parking spaces that will be provided should be provided to the local residents who will lose their local parking space and have to put up with the monstrosity that Cooper Cromar / Titan Investors will build.
#25 Posted by archistic on 12 Aug 2015 at 12:47 PM
wondering if planning will notice these 3 points:
1) building elevations are bland and monotonous.
2) opposite this building sits something called the Pavillion Theatre.
3) the massing is totally out of context and dwarfs its better recent neighbour - Citizen M Hotel, an appropriately scaled and interesting corner building that even dares to incorporate some decoration and artwork into its elevations.

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