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Sauchiehall Street welcomes Glasgow’s first ‘parklet’

October 8 2015

Sauchiehall Street welcomes Glasgow’s first ‘parklet’
Sauchiehall Street has become home to Glasgow’s first ‘parklet’, a pocket roadside installation designed to encourage passersby to linger by reclaiming a portion of the road from vehicles.

Built by ice Cream Architecture in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Arts the wooden pavilion incorporates seating, greenery, a removable canopy and information boards with a temporary tree adding some much-needed greenery to the area.

Using reclaimed timber from the city’s parks where possible the structure will be open to the public for a one month trial when its success or failure will be assessed by Glasgow City Council.

Bailie Liz Cameron, executive member for jobs and the economy at Glasgow City Council, said: “The idea of parklets in Glasgow city centre has a lot of potential, and these pilot projects could play their part in the regeneration of the Sauchiehall District.  The parklet at CCA could be a new way to attract people to the city centre.”

The scheme forms part of the council’s master plan for the Sauchiehall District


boaby wan
#1 Posted by boaby wan on 8 Oct 2015 at 12:00 PM
sorry but what?
Ice cream architecture must be pretty impressive if they can get paid for that
The Bairn
#2 Posted by The Bairn on 8 Oct 2015 at 12:22 PM
a pointless exercise....someone has too much time on there hands...GCC wasting tax payers money ...bonfire night looming on the horizon...hmmm
#3 Posted by "El" on 8 Oct 2015 at 13:01 PM
@#1 & 2

Stop yer moanin!
#4 Posted by Gringo on 8 Oct 2015 at 13:02 PM
I walk past this every night and while it may be an interesting curio, I have yet to see anyone actually using it....
#5 Posted by STW on 8 Oct 2015 at 13:08 PM
What a great idea for all the students that now live in all the converted office buildings up that end of town... a pile of wood left in the street just in time for Bonfire Night :D
#6 Posted by qmd on 8 Oct 2015 at 15:20 PM
I think this 'parklet' thing is more of a statement than a real space for people to use, intended to tell people that GCC is paying effort in revitalising Sauchiehall Street. Not saying it is a bad thing, but more effort required to keep the passion on.
#7 Posted by Chris on 8 Oct 2015 at 15:57 PM
The parklets are only one component of the plans for the area. Perhaps read them first.

Investment in the public realm is never a waste of tax payers money. I expect diatribe like that on the Daily Rags but not a website dedicated to architecture and urban development.
Big Chantelle
#8 Posted by Big Chantelle on 8 Oct 2015 at 17:18 PM
Chris in post #7 said :

"Investment in the public realm is never a waste of tax payers money".

It is a waste of money if whit is being presented is rubbish.

Just think ae whit Matheson did in George Square. He spent £500,000 puttin' down a temporary surface aw becoz he didnae like the results ae the design contest where his favrit wan didnae get picked.

I suppose the traffic cones surrounding this 'pocketpark' are a modern art installation ur whitever you concrete modernists call it.

#9 Posted by Pablo on 8 Oct 2015 at 17:36 PM
Well said, Chris.

This is just a small taster. If a significant amount of the changes planned for the area come to fruition, it will be great. The intention behind them is certainly the right one.

As part of the overall plan, parklets like these (once they are properly integrated into the street form) are a great idea.

Alot of the criticisms sound like cynicism on automatic.
#10 Posted by Tired on 8 Oct 2015 at 20:38 PM
Big Chantelle is fast becoming a parody of her/himself.

Churning out catchphrases like some desperate sitcom character.

It's cringeworthy and it's getting boring now.
The Bairn
#11 Posted by The Bairn on 8 Oct 2015 at 23:37 PM
Parklet like Chick-lit leaves me cold...expensive fire wood anyone?
#9 do you live in the real world?
#12 Posted by Billy on 9 Oct 2015 at 08:05 AM
I appreciate the effort but it would be hard to relax with traffic either side of you... The noise and the fumes. Better if the parklets were moved to the pedestrianised areas.
boaby wan
#13 Posted by boaby wan on 9 Oct 2015 at 10:14 AM
Sorry "El" - but here we have what looks like a 1st year student project on the edge of a busy road in the centre of glasgow - paid for by council tax payers...
If it forms "part of a masterplan" then the rest of the plan needs implemented, or at least some more of it - as a stand alone structure it does little and looks like a nice playground for drunk students, with the bonus of some free traffic cones - theres a touch of the emperors new clothes, I'm sure Ice cream architecture will be applauded for this "wonderful urban intervention" by some in the architecture community - I applaud them for getting paid for this, just a shame it's some of my money
#14 Posted by CADMonkey on 9 Oct 2015 at 11:57 AM
Not exactly Frank Lloyd Wright though, is it?
the sultan of brooneye
#15 Posted by the sultan of brooneye on 9 Oct 2015 at 13:56 PM
plant pot and a couple of benches, innit?

are we really still talking about this?
#16 Posted by Pablo on 9 Oct 2015 at 17:26 PM

Yes, the real world where public realms improvements are important. The real world where if I have a criticism to make of anything someone has said, I make the criticism instead of copping out with meaningless one liners. Feel free to join me...

There seems to be quite a lack of imagination expressed in comments here. I mean, why the complaints about the cones? This isn't the finished idea or how the parklets would be implemented. A wee read of the masterplan might be an idea. If parklets don't work as part of that masterplan in the future, then criticism would be justified. Just now it's just overactive cynicism. Parklets have worked very well in many cities. There's no reason they won't in Glasgow when properly implemented.
Georges-Eugène Haussmann
#17 Posted by Georges-Eugène Haussmann on 9 Oct 2015 at 18:12 PM
Pablo, go and raffle yersel son. As a modern Northern European city, Glasgow's streets spaces work best left as hard landscapes with no street furniture or a creeping plethora of other assorted clutter in the way.

I know this bit is down from Sauchiehall Street, which really did begin to go downhill when they cluttered it all up with those stupid trees and then the sitooteries. Honestly, this just looks like a bulk uplift for the binmen, which is clearly its main problem.

What is it from the comments made that you're not getting?
The Bairn
#18 Posted by The Bairn on 9 Oct 2015 at 18:54 PM
#16 what country do you live in?
Scotland isn't Spain
Glasgow isn't Barcelona
Parklets are not appropriate in wet, windy maritime climates...feel like experimenting by all means and use your own private funds to prove us all wrong....comprende??
#19 Posted by Chris on 9 Oct 2015 at 19:58 PM
The Bairn, parklets are already used in places like Copenhagen which has a similar climate to our own.

I have to despair at the comments on here sometimes, you all sound incredibly parochial.
#20 Posted by Pablo on 9 Oct 2015 at 23:29 PM

Parklets have been successful in all sorts of climates. This is just more ignorant cynicism. 'It's bad because reasons' close mindedness combined with immature one liners.


Again, parklets have worked in similar climates. Why would I use my private funds? Deary me. This is the standard of comment we're getting on this?
Georges-Eugène Haussmann
#21 Posted by Georges-Eugène Haussmann on 10 Oct 2015 at 13:28 PM
dear Pablito,

just to say I do not care about the weather and i'll ignore all the other stuff.

I happen to think that the Glasgow of Oscar Marzaroli is in many ways aesthetically preferable to this offer (that was a cultural point there).

Anyway, supposing you are right, and that there are a whole host of intellectual and sociological and architectural reasons etc. why parklets would be a good idea etc. BUT you still end up losing the argument, because the IMPLEMENTATION of it is SO POOR? Would you be open to consider that is possibly the case here and is possibly what people are saying?

After all, you can't win them all?
#22 Posted by Stephen on 10 Oct 2015 at 16:42 PM
Hate the name parklet but I think this is an excellent addition to a street otherwise completely dedicated to commerce. Obviously this can only be a small contribution on its own but as part of a wider strategy it has enormous potential. It needs to be built from durable materials though and should be permanent, but that said, its temporary and cheap nature betrays its democratic origins.
@ Boaby and the Bairn:
No doubt the taxpayer's spend was very little. In fact imagine how far Matheson's 500k (as referred to by #8) could have gone with projects like this. And as for Glasgow being unable to accommodate external seating... Are you mad?
#23 Posted by Chris on 10 Oct 2015 at 18:31 PM
#21 Explain how the implementation is poor? You do realise that the one in the photo is basically a trial? The parklets won't properly be implemented until the rest of plans (that no one can be bothered to read) begin.
boaby wan
#24 Posted by boaby wan on 11 Oct 2015 at 13:10 PM
If this is a trial would it not have been better to make it high quality in order to get support for the rest of the masterplan - as an isolated object it's not great is it?
Materials wise, how long is that timber going to take to blacken given it's right beside cars/buses and in glasgow?
Is the the detailing robust enough for the weather in glasgow?
Looks like at least one of the planters (or garden-lets?) is sitting on the ground at the pavement edge - otherwise used a gutter - what's going to happen when that timber is submerged in dirty water, when the street sweeper brushes stuff up against it etc?
Siting it at a set of traffic lights is probably the worst spot they could find, who would want to sit where the traffic noise is at it's worst and where the pollution is concentrated?
The planting looks like it will need constant attention, with an amount of soil like that they will be liable for getting saturated, frozen, dried out etc, and with the constant movement of traffic and pollution the plants are going to have a pretty hard life (if any!) so that's another cost added to the ongoing upkeep, aside from the damage caused by drunken students!
On paper Copenhagen might have a similar climate, but slightly warmer summers and colder winters are a lot better suited for outside activities instead of the rain in Glasgow.
(although i don't have anything against the aspirations of this)

It doesn't really matter the size of investment, I am a council tax payer here and this is a terrible use of any spare funds looking around the place.
Georges-Eugène Haussmann
#25 Posted by Georges-Eugène Haussmann on 11 Oct 2015 at 15:10 PM
Dear Chris - I see Boaby Wan beat me to it, but you did ask (or demand, which is never really a good idea) and so deserve a response. Damned if I respond by an epistle by UR readers and damned by you if I respond with a comment (which would be more appropriate as it is the comments section).

Just by looking at this installation, I don't know what 'it' is. This worries me. It makes me feel uneasy. For me, it fails in its implementation because I literally have to be informed by the blurb that this 'installation' has been designed to encourage me to 'linger' by reclaiming a portion of the road from vehicles. This raises two questions - Why would reclaiming a portion of the road in itself, encourage me to linger? And how does this design itself encourage me to linger?

(by the way, I am not encouraged to do anything other than hurry on past the CCA as I would always do, yearning for a past time when it was the Third Eye Centre. I remember vaguely visiting the CCA once and was so horrified by the architectural experience...)

But back to the installation. If anything, this structure, if I were to stand or sit on it would put me on a podium, but I really don't want to sit or stand on a podium. Is this encouragement not more to do with manipulation? I do not want to be manipulated. Hence I am wary of it.

In non-linguistic terms, what is the design of this installation saying? Is it for children? It looks like a piece of play equipment usually found in a dental surgery waiting room. Is there fun to be had, or just the usual crushing disappointment? A merry-go-round in the street works splendidly. This doesn't work at any level that I am aware of. I also note a lack of humour. A couple of bird nesting boxes would have cheered it up a bit.

What is the specific contextual relationship of its design with Glasgow? I notice it has a minor (probably unintended and very ironic) internationalist stylistic reference (Malevich meets John Maclean's famous dictum). Is that important? Is it intended to be sculptural? Is it artistic? Or, is it intended to be a more 'park-like' structure within the context of the city street? Is this being offered as a piece of fine art sculpture, or architecture, or agit-prop? I don't know. What's the story to the design of the installation? What did the designers want it to say? Why did they chose the specific forms that they did? Who, or what group designed it? From all these unanswered questions I can only conclude that the language the design uses is unclear. Very unclear.

Ultimately, it is not a thing of any beauty, or of any lasting value. It has that tortured veneer of 'intellect' so often seen, when in fact its just dross by any other name.

In answer to the Councillor's statement, would I be attracted to the city centre by this?

No, not at all and in fact, quite the reverse.

Sorry to say all this, but good luck, anyway, I wish the creators well in spite of this.
#26 Posted by Chris on 11 Oct 2015 at 17:41 PM
At lot to digest there, but it seems that #24 makes the assumption that the parklets are going to be dumped within the current street layout (if he read the plans he'd know about pavement widening and traffic restructuring that rends his points moot). Also assumes that plants and wood can't survive in the harsh tundra of Caledonia. OK.

#25 doesn't like the design. OK. The wall of fanciful pontification was unnecessary however.
boaby wan
#27 Posted by boaby wan on 11 Oct 2015 at 21:49 PM
Right you are Chris, the rest of the masterplan isn't in place, this project isn't on a widened pavement - it can only be judged on what it actually is, where it actually is. Plants and timber don't do well at ground level on heavily trafficked, polluted areas that is not a moot point, you really need to get over your self and look at the reality of the implementation and not the aspiration/potential future of it - the practicalities are unavoidable and very relevant
#28 Posted by Chris on 12 Oct 2015 at 10:03 AM
So you're basing your criticism of the entire project as a whole on a single trial parklet. The current implementation doesn't reflect the finished street plan, why is that so difficult for you to grasp? Parklets originate from America, in cities with much higher traffic flow than Glasgow. Your assumption that plants can't exist on busy road is nonsense.
boaby wan
#29 Posted by boaby wan on 12 Oct 2015 at 10:25 AM
Chris, I am basing my criticism on what is in front of me - that is all we can do - if this is the trial, then it's a very shaky start.
The current implementation is all there is to critique, why is that so difficult for you to grasp?
I'm not commenting on the aspiration of a parklet, please read the points i've made about the planting and try to understand that the details and implementation are what is at fault here. I didn't say "plants can't exist on busy road" did I? I made an observation that plants located like this, in a small volume of planting medium are very exposed to the weather and pollution and are going to need constant maintenance - I'm afraid that is a fact, please try to read and understand what people are critical off here before trying to put words in mouths - you are completely dismissive of factual criticisms, perhaps instead of just dismissing others, why don't you tell us how this implementation addresses the specific problems identified?
I for one would like to see your examples of cheap timber in glasgow at street level which have aged well, or been placed in gutters?
maybe you know how planting in such a small volume can over come the rainfall, freezing temperatures and then the drying out without lots of maintenance?

oh right, yeah, I forgot it - it doesn't matter about the practical side because it's just a trial that's part of a magical masterplan that will definitely be fully implemented and we just don't understand what the climate in scotland is like.... aye right!
Partick Bateman
#30 Posted by Partick Bateman on 12 Oct 2015 at 13:27 PM
I do love it when folk get all hot and bothered about "their money being used" for stuff they don't like.

Probably less than a penny of your council tax went on this.
Stuart T
#31 Posted by Stuart T on 12 Oct 2015 at 13:36 PM
Thought I'd just put it out there that Edinburgh had one of those 'parklets' on George St for two months over the summer. It was sponsored/provided by a well known Tesco owned garden centre. Therefore, there is plenty more trial information out there, from the other end of the M8, if you want to look. It may well the weather bickering. As for an anecdotal view, I walked past the George St ones every working day and they certainty weren't well used or celebrated by tourists or residents, despite the street also being closed for traffic.
#32 Posted by Skiff on 12 Oct 2015 at 20:19 PM
I think the parklet is a great new addition to Sauchiehall street. It's really shows that Glasgow city council is committed to improving the local area and it's a great way to engage the public in that process. I like how they've used a Glasgow-based architectural company to deliver the project, and also used wood taken from parks in and around glasgow to construct the parklet. I think the design is cool and the moveable seating makes the space adaptable and interactive. I cant wait to see what the next parklet has to offer! good work
#33 Posted by jv on 12 Oct 2015 at 21:16 PM
I know that these things have a budget of thousands, EACH. There are going to be more. They are patronising, wasteful, unused, non sustainable, badly designed, uncomfortable, cliched and destined for the skip and landfill. Very poor start to the regeneration plans and a total waste of time & money.
The Bairn
#34 Posted by The Bairn on 13 Oct 2015 at 11:52 AM
#32 obviously works for / with Ice Cream Architecture...#33 is absolutely correct...and to sum up this trial was not well received by professionals and I can deduce that the general public will have even harsher opinions...on that basis its an overwhelming NO!!!
A bit Iffy
#35 Posted by A bit Iffy on 13 Oct 2015 at 23:00 PM
wood is a wonderful material - when well crafted and in the appropriate context it creates the perfect environment for relaxation and calm. Yes the idea of some softer break out pedestrian spaces in this district would be interesting and could set a precedent for pedestrians to have an equal presence in the street or even become superior to the cars. This unfortunately seems at odds with its surroundings, and may be more at home in an allotment, a school, a beach or even Googles HQ. Are those benches for people to eat their late night chips n gravy on, or places to have a wee snooze when the taxi rank is too long? Any chance of seeing photos of this in use?
Nairn's Bairn
#36 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 14 Oct 2015 at 06:08 AM
Let's face it, they're roosts for hipsters. They'll seek them out, takeaway latte in hand, and Instagram each others beards while real Glasgow life continues around them.

Perfect for the 'look at me' crowd, but on this evidence they won't be places one could go to escape and breathe out for a few minutes.

On a practical note, it's difficult to stay upright on wet timber decking with Costa in one hand and iPhone in the other.

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