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Egyptian Halls architectural competition seeks adaptive re-use ideas

May 13 2019

Egyptian Halls architectural competition seeks adaptive re-use ideas

An international architectural competition has been launched by The Alexander Thomson Society to elicit design ideas for the adaptive re-use of The Egyptian Halls in Glasgow.

A response to the ongoing threat of demolition of the A-listed warehouse the competition is seeking to break a stalemate which has left the building in a state of limbo as negotiations with buildings owner Derek Souter stall.

To this end the competition seeks to raise awareness of the buildings current predicament by soliciting ideas for its repair and re-use, with no limit on creativity.

In a statement the society wrote: “By inviting wide ranging, purposeful and creatively sustainable ideas that respond to the spatial potential of its cast iron framed, open planned floor plates and its innovative architectural facades, the society sincerely hopes that the response will transcend previous proposals and extend the debate concerning a building which the society, amongst many other bodies and individuals, believe cannot be abandoned to quietly succumb, without action, simply to join previous victims of Thomson’s already depleted range of buildings in the city.”

Further details are available via a competition website with the winning submission to be revealed at a public exhibition of all entries, to be announced in due course. All entries must be received no later than 4 October.


boaby wan
#1 Posted by boaby wan on 13 May 2019 at 12:37 PM
So you pay to enter a competition for a building which isn't owned by the people running said competition and give your most valuable work away for nothing on a competition which is never going to turn into a project? The judges include the president of the GIA and the presendent of RIAS.
These are the people that should be promoting what architects do and the value they can bring, not supporting a massive, costly, waste of time.
I understand the building needs saved, but it's appalling that architects are seen as so stupid to pay to hand over ideas for nothing for vanity. If they want to save the building, pay for a proper feasibility study and get serious with the ownership of the building.
GIA and RIAS really need to stop supporting this type of exploitation of the profession.
A Local Pleb
#2 Posted by A Local Pleb on 13 May 2019 at 12:44 PM
Let the building owner and developer get on with the job of developing and saving this building? We don't need yet more ideas, such things have been bouncing about for over 20 years! Perhaps the city council and amenity bodies such as TATS could support the owner by constructively addressing old legal issues and avoiding the promotion of yet further alternatives!
Neil McAllister
#3 Posted by Neil McAllister on 13 May 2019 at 14:44 PM
What this doesn't need is yet more architectural solutions generated. What it needs is a coherent business plan generating a defined brief from which a design can be produced. Architecturally, this building is fairly simple - essentially a facade (in need of a lot of conservation work) and a frame (which may or may not be retained). The challenge is making it stack up financially which may require grant funding for the conservation works.
Andrew Brown
#4 Posted by Andrew Brown on 13 May 2019 at 15:44 PM
Shameful. Why will we as a profession realise that we constantly devalue ourselves?

It’s bad enough when there is a potential commission at the end of it (and it’s not OK then), but this is just shameful.

Our firm were shortlisted for a small public building recently, and we’re asked at interview (for free, along with the other shortlisted firms) to produce designs, plans, sketches, internal and external 3D images. When we took a stand and said no it turned out all the other shortlisted practices went ahead and did the work for free.

As a profession we are our own worst enemy.
#5 Posted by Anon on 13 May 2019 at 22:35 PM
£15/25 entry fee but no cash prize/building commison for the winner?
#6 Posted by Asimov on 14 May 2019 at 08:56 AM
#4 Andrew - Welcome to the world of graphic designers. Advice is simple - avoid free competitons like a plague. No prize, exposure is minimal or non-existent, but the expectations are enormous. Leave it to other joke practices and let them dig their own hole. Real business is elsewhere.
Damp Proof Membrane
#7 Posted by Damp Proof Membrane on 14 May 2019 at 09:17 AM
Obviously there are good intentions at heart here. However as noted above by others this is a classic example of how and why architects are increasingly viewed as superfluous. We'd turn up for anything, uh? That's a lot of submission information required for no identifiable real end, too. Misguided from a lot of people who should know better. A shame.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#8 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 14 May 2019 at 09:47 AM
What a bunch of low rent moaners -- Building stylists -- aka "Architects" -- please take a bow.

You make the "Felt Tip Fairies" of Big Auto look like emotional titans in comparison.

Get a grip / get off your knees -- make a statement.

If you are snowed under with paid work then you have no need to get involved. If you aren't then cut back on the golf and get some publicity.
boaby wan
#9 Posted by boaby wan on 14 May 2019 at 10:16 AM
FBOT - you constantly post negative comment on the standard of design published on this site, then you reckon architects should be designing for free?

There is no doubt architects will enter this competition but the professional bodies (RIAS and GIA) should be campaigning against competitions like this rather than putting judges on the panel.
#10 Posted by Ollie on 14 May 2019 at 12:42 PM
Most comments completely miss the point of the proposed exercise which is to generate interest and raise the profile of a decaying iconic piece of Glasgow Architecture. I'm sure the ATS are not trying to exploit architect's ideas but rather they are appealing to our better nature in the hope that we care enough to give it some serious thought! Who knows, a little enthusiasm and effort on this could also raise your practice profile?
#11 Posted by pooka on 14 May 2019 at 13:04 PM
Hmmm, make it financially viable by adding several+ floors, retain the existing structure and facade - adding structure to bolster whats there, where required. Big flashy entrance and a trendy coffee cafe. Job Done!
#12 Posted by David on 14 May 2019 at 13:54 PM
That works for me Pooka!...if only!
boaby wan
#13 Posted by boaby wan on 14 May 2019 at 14:09 PM
come on Ollie!
This has been one of the highest profile sagas of recent years.
"appealing to our better nature"? head in the sand stuff here, they've figured out that goons will work for nothing (in fact will even pay to enter) on a project with zero chance of realisation for a building they don't have any stake in, raising your practice profile as a company that will work for nothing seems a bit counter intuitive, no?
The sad fact is you're being used to raise the profile of other using skills that should be valued, but your vanity says you might make it on to the pages of urban realm with an image produced on expensive software and somehow "raise the profile" of your practice enough to pay the staff at the end of the month.
It's astounding that architects are happy to do this time after time, the RIAS really should be thinking about what this says about our profession in this country.
#14 Posted by Graham on 14 May 2019 at 14:19 PM
That's great work #11 Pooka. That'll be £25 you now owe for that.
Design bear
#15 Posted by Design bear on 14 May 2019 at 20:40 PM
Calm down, it cost £15 if you enter today and you could win £500 to have your work in an exhibition. It might even cheer you up.
Big Chanterelle
#16 Posted by Big Chanterelle on 14 May 2019 at 23:05 PM
What an embarrassing and shambolic exercise. To include judges from the GIA and RIAS is bad enough, but to request payment for entering a competition with no tangible prize at the end is simply woeful. It is no wonder Architecture in Scotland is so poor when design teams have to scrape the barrel with unrealistic low fees and paper architecture such as this for "exposure". One would have thought the whole "intern saga" the industry faced would be enough to discourage free labour, but no; not here. Poor show all involved.
#17 Posted by Dunbelievable on 15 May 2019 at 06:33 AM
Haven't most Glasgow practices done a study for this already in one shape of form? Maybe it should be a student only competition!
Fat bloke of Troll - can you show us on the doll where the architect hurt you?
Be nice if Deek could give it a rest and sell up or we'll still be reading these comments in years to come when the scaffold gets listed.....
boaby wan
#18 Posted by boaby wan on 15 May 2019 at 11:53 AM
very interesting, adding a nominal prize to the competition after some moans (or maybe the website just hadn't been updated?) - still no comment from the GIA or RIAS on the involvement of their presidents?
#19 Posted by David on 16 May 2019 at 20:39 PM
How many years has that scaffolding covered the facade for now? One thing I thought may have been fairly obvious to the owner - who is constantly complaining about the local authority and government not giving him enough cash for a private scheme - would be to rent it as an advertising space.

When the GPO building on George Square was derelict, if I remember correctly the billboard there was rented at £500,000 per month. And that was years ago. If Derek Souter had done the same, surely he would have made up some of the shortfall by now?
Intransigent owners and foolish architects...
#20 Posted by Intransigent owners and foolish architects... on 17 May 2019 at 11:37 AM
Enforcement on the owner for the proper maintenance of the listed building then a compulsory purchase for a nominal amount unless the building is fully maintained and preserved within a short period. Ownership pf empty buildings is not a basic human right, the opposite in fact. you then either have a preserved building or a proper project on your hands rather than yet more smoke and mirrors....
Andrew Taylor
#21 Posted by Andrew Taylor on 18 May 2019 at 03:17 AM
@andrewbrown hit the nail on the head. Ive a question though, David Page - tell us how it is for the Egyptian Halls? Equally tell RIAS if competition is the right answer here? You're the dawg of our profession. Lead us. Cheers
and what about the others....
#22 Posted by and what about the others.... on 6 Jan 2020 at 16:16 PM
Hows Deekos free work from architects 'competition' coming along? any mugs submit entries???

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