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Alexandra Park inspires ‘aspirational’ Haghill homes

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September 17 2018

 Alexandra Park inspires ‘aspirational’ Haghill homes

Grant Murray Architects acting on behalf of the Home Group have brought forward plans for 36 flats on the site of a former nursing home in Haghill, Glasgow.

Briefed to create ‘aspirational homes’ appropriate to the prime setting overlooking Alexandra Park the development will adjoin the ‘dead gable’ of an adjoining tenement where the Victorian tenement boom ground to a halt, with a six-storey new build with reduced floor to ceiling heights to sit below the tenement datum.

In a statement the architects wrote: “The form is proud to be thoroughly modern, seeking as it foes, to create its own distinctive architectural language. Razor sharp corners and clean lines are prevalent throughout, modern materials have been promoted and large areas of glazing have been introduced.

“The structural possibilities afforded by the steel frame have also been seized by creating dramatic projecting landings and balconies that provide memorable experiences and vistas.”

Reinforcing the building line around Kennyhill Square the contrasting brick scheme includes a 15m deep backcourt area.

A 30 degree roof adds to the sharp angular form of the contemporary build
A 30 degree roof adds to the sharp angular form of the contemporary build
Contrasting dark and red brick help[ to break up the massing
Contrasting dark and red brick help[ to break up the massing

13 Comments

Stevie Steve
#1 Posted by Stevie Steve on 17 Sep 2018 at 13:28 PM
Those are aspirational homes?!
Darius Vassell
#2 Posted by Darius Vassell on 17 Sep 2018 at 13:43 PM
Yes, in that you'd aspire to live anywhere but here.
Emile Heskey
#3 Posted by Emile Heskey on 17 Sep 2018 at 13:56 PM
Nothing says aspirational like reduced floor to ceiling heights.
Gandalf the Pink
#4 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 17 Sep 2018 at 14:50 PM
“The form is proud to be thoroughly modern, seeking as it foes, to create its own distinctive architectural language. Razor sharp corners and clean lines are prevalent throughout, modern materials have been promoted and large areas of glazing have been introduced.

“The structural possibilities afforded by the steel frame have also been seized by creating dramatic projecting landings and balconies that provide memorable experiences and vistas.”

No. It's awful.
LOL
#5 Posted by LOL on 17 Sep 2018 at 15:29 PM
This press release is an awful read. Trying to suggest using steel is innovative... WOW
Cheapskate Joe
#6 Posted by Cheapskate Joe on 17 Sep 2018 at 16:43 PM
It's as cheap as the visualizations. Micro ground level parking spaces kills is definitely. Why not add two more storeys and reduce the room height to 1,7m?
Bullshit watch
#7 Posted by Bullshit watch on 17 Sep 2018 at 19:28 PM
Jesus wept...
Pablo
#8 Posted by Pablo on 17 Sep 2018 at 20:16 PM
I'm all for thoroughly modern. This also happens to be thoroughly crap, though.
Egbert
#9 Posted by Egbert on 18 Sep 2018 at 11:54 AM
Come on, you lot, is this really that bad? Nobody is realistically going to build Victorian-style 9' tenement ceilings today so inserting an extra storey to approximate the local roofline datum hardly seems the end of the world. The way it addresses the park with a load of car parking seems more problematic urbanistically to me than the building itself - why cut itself off from its most appealing aspect? Yes, the tenements on the other side of the square do this but surely there was the opportunity to do something better here - the nursing home at least had a wee garden adjoining the park - to build a more satisfactory relationship and stitch it into the neighbourhood.
A Local Pleb
#10 Posted by A Local Pleb on 18 Sep 2018 at 12:33 PM
I don't think the proposal is as bad as all the aforesaid negativity implies.
the architect
#11 Posted by the architect on 18 Sep 2018 at 22:09 PM
I don't know whether its sentimental or depressing to to see Urban Realm's comment board hasn't matured much since my uni days. The grown ups always did have to wait for the archi-trolls to run out of glib things to say.

Thanks for your feedback Egbert - your suggestion of a stronger connection to the park is a very good one and one which I agree with 100%. It was actually the very first thing I looked at - the concept sketches that show this are actually still available through our site. As GCC would not allow direct access into the park (despite the fact the previous care home enjoyed this), it actually made far more sense to flip the parking and have it to the heavily overshadowed area, adjacent to the park. This all but eliminates overshadowing of the park, ties through with Easter Craigs and avoids diverting the 750mm diameter live sewer that runs through this section of the site. A detailed study of the existing 15m trees on the park boundary also highlighted that the majority of flats actually see very little directly into the park - the canopy is simply too dense. The main aspects are actually to the east & west. The northern park aspect is ironically actually slightly helped by bringing the building back.
Rest assured that as we move forward, I'll be pushing again for this pedestrian access to the park & will also be detailing a variety of high quality hard and soft landscaping finishes to the parking court.

I try to design every project as if it was my new home, and this connection and parking environment is absolutely crucial to the overall quality of the development & to how park users perceive the development.

I love constructive feedback and intellectual debate. As futile as subjective opinion is, I'm also thoroughly delighted its not everyone's cup of tea - Glasgow has quite enough 'meh' buildings from the last 50 years! End users, grant funders and the client are the only subjective criticism I have to listen to - as all 3 pay my wages in one shape or another.

I've lived in Dennistoun for the last 15 years if at any point in those 15 years I could have resided in a brand new, bright, open plan, incredibly spacious flat, that cost buttons to heat, had off street parking and even a large balcony overlooking a bowling green or pond yacht - I would have signed up in an instant.

I sadly wouldn't qualify for social housing such as this now.
36 lucky households on lower incomes will though.
They will get the best flat east of High Street, for oooh around 40% of the rent you have to pay in the private sector.......
Cadmonkey
#12 Posted by Cadmonkey on 19 Sep 2018 at 09:59 AM
Architect, I am curious.
You mention “reduced floor to ceiling heights to sit below the tenement datum”. But your proposal is higher than the neighbouring tenements. What do you mean?
Also, your application doesn’t include a section. What “reduced” floor to ceiling heights are you proposing?
the architect
#13 Posted by the architect on 19 Sep 2018 at 18:25 PM
I have never used the word datum - I referred to 'established ridge heights'. I believe that to be a far more accurate measure of massing than eaves height - particularly when there are no adjoing buildings orientated in the same principle direction. As I say in my design statement, we actually sit below the horizontal plane of an artificial sky - the chimneys and ridges of the neighbouring tenements would poke through before our ridge. I've learned the hard way that Glasgow is horribly opposed to anything that raises its skyline - even at the expense of under developing sites when appeal and demand for affordable housing is enormous.

Reduced floor to ceiling heights was a reference to our flats being a rigorous 2.4m ceiling, in comparison with over 2.7m in the neighbouring sandstone tenements. Should we omit the expensive steel frame we would actually be able to give the extra ceiling height to the flats. I can't come up with a single justifiable reason why social housing intended for low - middle income end users would benefit or thank me for this 12% extra 'dead volume' to heat. 2.4m ceilings are not just a product of the desire for more and more thermally efficient homes, it is the only logical and moral destination. Whenever I see a new build social housing project that doesn't have 2.4m ceilings I instantly know the architect is more concerned with vanity, than the people who will be forced to live in their impractical doodles.

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