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Keppie reveals design for 15 storey Glasgow office block

November 6 2015

Keppie reveals design for 15 storey Glasgow office block
Keppie Design has lifted the lid on their design for a 15 storey office block on the site of Douglas House, Glasgow, offering 8,000sq/m of grade A floor space.

The speculative development is being developed by Patrizia UK and will replace the existing Douglas House office block on the corner of Waterloo and Douglas Street.

Facilities on offer include a double height reception space, staff showers, cycle bays and surface car parking accessible from St Peters Lane.

In a statement the practice said that their scheme would “… deliver a striking and modern office building comprising a rich palette of materials incorporating aluminium, solar controlled glass and precast concrete panels in a refined and ordered layered façade."

The practice added: “This high quality treatment will be repeated on all elevations with the upper floors set back to respect the datum level of nearby buildings. The façade is grouped in two storey portions respecting the proportions and architectural rhythm of the traditional Waterloo St Buildings. The development will also include a generous and elegant colonnade on Waterloo St which will be a welcome addition to Glasgow’s public realm.”

The new project has been designed to complement planned work at Bothwell Exchange.


#1 Posted by Yaldy on 6 Nov 2015 at 11:14 AM
I like this, and it's an improvement on what was there.

Look at that block though, it looks ridiculous in comparison to the older parts of the city.
Cyril Sneer
#2 Posted by Cyril Sneer on 6 Nov 2015 at 11:44 AM
In no way is this an improvement - it’s just 3 times bigger and uglier. This is actually how I imagine a child would draw an office block. Also, what joker thought a blank wall at ground level was appropriate here? Surely a building as 'grossly' over-scaled as this should have a fully activated ground floor and public realm experience? Generous set-backs and increased public realm at ground level would go some way in giving something back to the city. The arbitrary setbacks at the upper levels clearly don’t work in responding to the existing datum level, with exactly the same heavy rhythm & fenestration as below? Mental. Back to the drawing board please!! (or Etch-a-sketch if this was actually a child)
Conveyor Belt
#3 Posted by Conveyor Belt on 6 Nov 2015 at 12:03 PM
This really lacks any kind of scale in relation to the surrounding city buildings. The module dwarfs the neighbouring Sentinel and Aurora offices both of which are by no means small. Other than adding reams of extra office space this does little to improve on what was there previously, more an scale factor 10 of the existing.
Robert Bruce
#4 Posted by Robert Bruce on 6 Nov 2015 at 12:40 PM
@1. The solution to the scale issue is clearly to demolish the historic city centre. Alternatively, delete 4 storeys and provide some masonry.
Don Diamante
#5 Posted by Don Diamante on 6 Nov 2015 at 13:26 PM
That "rich palette of materials" seems surprisingly cheap, both looking and sounding.
Ground floor is truly dreadful, you would walk past this with as much interest in the building as you would a site hoarding.
The only nod to adjacent building heights is the removal of corner cladding panels to the top four floors.
It's one step forward for Keppie (AECC), two steps back (this fish).
Bert Raccoon
#6 Posted by Bert Raccoon on 6 Nov 2015 at 13:47 PM
No hiding this is a commercially driven project, and most are! What is more disappointing is how repetitive the design is. For example St. Vincent Street Glasgow & Capitol Cinema Aberdeen. I guess it keeps staff costs down! "Detail once build twice... (and so on)
#7 Posted by pleasantfield on 6 Nov 2015 at 16:36 PM
When, oh when will we get a design for which the comments on Urban Realm are all positive and glowing. I can't remember when that last happened. More "go anywhere" ,and as some said ,more than once, architecture. Its hopeless. I wish GC Planning would stand up and set the bar higher. This simply will not do., its lowest common denominator stuff.
Why will they not do what cities like Hamburg and even Dublin or Paris have done and create building envelopes for zoning, height and massing.
#8 Posted by Charlie_ on 6 Nov 2015 at 18:57 PM
A few buildings which 'dwarf their neighbours' would be most welcome in this neck of the woods. This design looks awful, however.
N Brown
#9 Posted by N Brown on 8 Nov 2015 at 23:23 PM
#5 agree...!, although I believe AECC wasn't designed by Keppie...!
#10 Posted by Fraser on 9 Nov 2015 at 02:27 AM
This is far better than what is currently on site. The scaling in a bit odd, however I presume it is in some way foreshadowing Bothwell exchange (
which must be about the same proposed height. I think in that context the massing would be fine, I would say it's the materiality and the general aesthetic that needs some more developing.
Big Chantelle
#11 Posted by Big Chantelle on 9 Nov 2015 at 10:54 AM
This is a pure an utter abomination. Wit de ye expect though? When yer architectural education is based on lefty, modernist tripe, this is the quality of building ye git.

And tae hink that the maestros that ur Keppie will huv this building within eyesight ae the Alexander Thomson classic St. Vincent Street Free Church it would make sane people despair. And by sane people, I'm obviously no talkin' aboot folk who hink Cumbernauld shopping centre was progressive and gid architecture -- in other words, about 97.6% ae the commentators on this site sadly.

The Source
#12 Posted by The Source on 9 Nov 2015 at 12:23 PM
Its back to the 70's. I'm sure this is just a first stab by Keppies! This will evolve over the weeks and months ahead, Hopefully anyway as this is discrace!
Jimbob Tanktop
#13 Posted by Jimbob Tanktop on 9 Nov 2015 at 14:14 PM
Nice to see a speculative office development, costing many millions of pounds and which has had all flair and merit stripped in the pursuit of profit, described as 'lefty.'
#14 Posted by Stephen on 9 Nov 2015 at 14:33 PM
@13. A good point!
Sadly BC is a troll with no interest in getting into a debate about the nasty falsehoods and mis-apprehensions he/she comes out with. Pointing out how bizarre, contradictory, bitter and/or ill-educated he/she is doesn't lead to informed and moderated counter-comment, just more of the same aggression.
Auntie Nairn
#15 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 9 Nov 2015 at 14:38 PM
#11 It's nice to see that someone else is being given the opportunity to write the Big Chantelle character, and even put their own spin on it by sending it further down the route of parochial twit that can't spell :-)
A Local Pleb
#16 Posted by A Local Pleb on 10 Nov 2015 at 13:17 PM
The design quality of office developments in Glasgow is steadily getting worse! Particularly those that are speculative, oh that's most of them!?
No doubt it will be marketed as high quality Grade A office space...pity then that as designer have little need to focus on the interiors of said offices they could not put more effort into the external appearance.
Speculative developers have no real interest in the architectural merits of their projects so long as they can let the space. Unfortunately such drab, banal, unimaginative buildings still attract tenants so obviously they don't care about being associated with such things! Says a lot about the value placed upon high quality design.
I despair :-(
Gordon Robertson
#17 Posted by Gordon Robertson on 8 Mar 2018 at 19:32 PM
I used to work in Douglas House (up to 2005) and the building was pretty much regarded as what an unemployment office in Moscow in the 1960s would look like. The new building is however not a great improvement look wise but it will create a more modern look to Waterloo Street. DH was always a bit dated.

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