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Plans submitted for Citizens Theatre overhaul

December 8 2015

Plans submitted for Citizens Theatre overhaul
Bennetts Associates have submitted plans for the renovation and expansion of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre by refurbishing the historic auditorium whilst sweeping away later piecemeal additions to allow a wraparound new build structure.

This will allow creation of additional accommodation for learning, studios and workshops as well as building a new street frontage and foyer with a new front to back connection created alongside the existing auditorium to provide full public access to historic stage machinery.

In their design statement the architects observed: “The façade to Gorbals Street has open-ness and transparency that will reveal the auditorium gable and the activity of the foyer. It will make the theatre open and welcoming, and allow it to engage with the street.

“The auditorium will be at the centre of the scheme, and the layers of modern finishes will be stripped back to reveal its sandstone walls. Foyer spaces will be placed dramatically between the new accommodation and the old walls of the auditorium, with stairs and bridges occupying the space between.”

New elevations will be clad predominantly in brick with a pre-cast concrete string course with metal cladding applied to the side elevations and fly tower.
A low brick wall will run the length of the block with embedded seating where it meets the building and storey height advertising screens on the corner.
A low brick wall will run the length of the block with embedded seating where it meets the building and storey height advertising screens on the corner.
A series of John Mossman statues salvaged from the original theatre will be reinstated
A series of John Mossman statues salvaged from the original theatre will be reinstated


#1 Posted by Stephen on 8 Dec 2015 at 14:08 PM
Seems to do all the right urban planning things and the context doesn't offer too much for it to jar or tie in with. My main concern would be that the glazed box and framing at 1st/2nd floors is a bit incongruous. Even if it's well detailed it seems a bit of a 90's throwback when compared to the language of brick and concrete string courses. If it's badly detailed (VEed with a standard curtain wall system) it'll look awful.
Rem Koolbag
#2 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 9 Dec 2015 at 10:14 AM
It's a great bit of timing to help anchor the regeneration at Laurieston and the new college on riverside with an upgraded cultural building.

The design seems to be very mature and refined and does the best with what is strangely a very tight site by wrapping round to the car park elevation and activating that frontage.

It certainly looks more civic than the existing building and differentiates itself from the insipid rubbish next door too.

Sue Pearman
#3 Posted by Sue Pearman on 9 Dec 2015 at 10:26 AM
It does seem to be a blandified version of the previous iteration, which was at least a bit more theatrical and ambitious.
#4 Posted by stephen on 9 Dec 2015 at 11:39 AM
I agree to an extent (more articulation in brickwork and an interesting masonry Giant Order above in the previous version) but the cantilevered glazed box in that proposal looked unresolved and was always in danger of looking tacky. I'd rather have something more refined and built well, than an ambitious design built cheaply.
#5 Posted by michael on 9 Dec 2015 at 11:52 AM
bennetts are all very worthy, but they just cant do civic (or cultural )....everything they do looks too much like it should / could be on an out of town business park.
#6 Posted by Chris on 9 Dec 2015 at 11:58 AM
I agree with #3, the earlier proposal conveyed a sense of civic importance that has been lost here.
#7 Posted by wonky on 9 Dec 2015 at 19:21 PM
I like it, & it references the aesthetics of the new Laurieston very well. But why not have the old stonework/statues as a more prominent feature on top of the roofline (as it was originally)?
#8 Posted by BIlly on 10 Dec 2015 at 03:17 AM
What an improvement. So much better than what is there now. However the original theatre facade was the best. I agree with Wonky. The statues should be more prominent as they were on the original. Will someone ever develop the old lonely building across the road? Seems a waste of an attractive building. Be good if the redevelopment of the area could also make Gorbals Cross more vibrant as it was in years gone past. To think this area once had a population of 250 000 people. In clearing the slums I think we also tore the heart out of some areas. Hopefully the Citizen's makeover will encourage more redevelopment.
#9 Posted by wonky on 11 Dec 2015 at 08:30 AM
Billy, pretty certain the old linen bank building adjacent is lined up for redevelopment as part of new Laurieston regeneration. Not in a position to put a link up (will if I have oppprchancity).
#10 Posted by Billy on 13 Dec 2015 at 11:24 AM
Thanks Wonky. That's good to know. A real danger like so many other beautiful buildings of falling into disrepair so far that only demolition is inevitable. The Lion Building is another. And although there was a lot of talk about the Greek Thomson church at the Gorbals nothing ever came of it. Would make a great restaurant but maybe just a bit out the way...neither Southside or City Centre. A hotel with an extension to the rear but only if it complimented the existing Church.
#11 Posted by wonky on 8 Jan 2016 at 13:43 PM
Originally Posted by G1p View Post
From Scottish Construction Now, 19th October-

"Scottish Housing News -

Southside Housing Association awarded funding for historic Gorbals restoration

Glasgow City Council, Historic Environment Scotland, Historic Scotland, New Gorbals Housing Association, Southside Housing Association 19 October 2015
British Linen Bank2A major restoration project led by Southside Housing Association has been awarded funding from newly formed lead public body for heritage Historic Environment Scotland.

The former British Linen Bank in the Gorbals area of Glasgow is due to undergo a major revamp to six flats for mid market rent as part of a wider scheme to regenerate the surrounding area by Southside HA.

The Association is also considering transforming the bottom floor into community facilities.

A total of £345,000 was awarded from Historic Environment Scotland’s Building Repair Grants Scheme to carry out essential repair work. It is one of five projects across the country to have shared £1.7 million in funding.

The property at 162-168 Gorbals Street is a Category A listed building built around 1900 for the British Linen Bank which ceased trading as a public bank around 1969 but still existed as a private commercial bank till 2000.

The building has been in the possession of Southside Housing Association for over 20 years. A renovation scheme in 1996 was refused funding and the building has lain derelict since then.

Southside Housing Association in partnership with Glasgow Building Preservation Trust has recently been successful in attracting funding from both Glasgow City Council and Historic Scotland for the restoration of the iconic building and are in the process of submitting a number of additional funding applications to Charitable Trusts and other appropriate agencies to fund the project throughout the contract.

Southside Housing Associations secretary Iain Dyer said that the Association is extremely excited and committed to the restoration of this significant building which will compliment the recent transformation of the Gorbals area undertaken by New Gorbals Housing Association.

Jane Ryder OBE, chair of Historic Environment Scotland, said: “As the new lead body in Scotland’s historic environment, one of our key drivers is to facilitate and enable others to help protect the country’s built heritage. These five grant recipients are a fine example of that collaboration working in practice, where the building owners are drawing on finance and expertise from us, as well as working with partners – which usually include local authorities, community groups, and other investment bodies – in order to bring these important historic buildings back into reuse.

“The scheme isn’t just about repairing old buildings which have fallen into disrepair though: the end use of each of these projects is something which will greatly benefit the communities living around it. Not only directly by using the buildings for their new purpose, whether that be leisure, business, education or the arts, but by the impact which high-quality conservation and restoration works can have in the regeneration of an area.”

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