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Hillhead Baptist Church puts faith in housing-led renewal vision

May 20 2019

Hillhead Baptist Church puts faith in housing-led renewal vision

The B-listed Hillhead Baptist Church in the heart of Glasgow’s West End conservation area has been earmarked for 30 flats in proposals drawn up by EMA Architecture and design.

Derived from a previously consented façade retention scheme from 2011 the latest plan is the product of a partnership between the church and Wemyss Properties which would see the congregation benefit from a new community facility and vital repairs, paid for by an enabling residential development.

This would entail the façade retention and extension of the current building together with the replacement of large areas of failing stonework. The existing hall meanwhile would be demolished to allow a smaller community facility to take its place, with flats above.

In their design statement, EMA wrote: “The new upper-level extension is informed by the geometry and symmetry and of the existing building and designed to reflect the order of the façade. The new concrete panels will define a series of glazed openings which form the windows to the apartments at the upper levels. The simple concrete and glass structure is set back from the existing building line and is intended to be subservient to the historic listed building.”

Hillhead is to benefit from a major public reaim improvement package centred on the nearby Byres Road.

Warning of the dangers of inaction the architects go on to caution that ‘… this may well be the best and last opportunity to save the building.’ Writing: “If the building lies in its current condition for several more years it is probable that it will have to be demolished in its entirety.”

The height of the church will be increased in line with neighbouring tenements
The height of the church will be increased in line with neighbouring tenements


#1 Posted by David on 20 May 2019 at 11:12 AM
This is awful. Some of these living rooms are 2.8m wide. Flat type 16 on the top floor is one of the worst apartment layouts I've seen for a long time.
Why do planning not interrogate proposals in more detail before they are submitted?
#2 Posted by David on 20 May 2019 at 11:14 AM
The new upper level extension is clearly NOT informed by the geometry and symmetry of the existing building. It is neither symmetrical or does it reflect the order of the facade. So why say that?
Islands of sanity
#3 Posted by Islands of sanity on 20 May 2019 at 11:16 AM
As UR reported recently, St Aidan’s church in Galashiels was demolished. This type of problem solving partnership has to be a way forward particularly as COS are likely to bring forward Church closure on an unparalleled scale.
#4 Posted by David on 20 May 2019 at 14:27 PM
Don't disagree with that #3. I quite like the overall concept of the conversion / retention, but the quality of accommodation is terrible. It's a clear example of trying to squeeze as many units in as physically possible. This quality of internal planning would never be allowed in Housing Association builds.
#5 Posted by alibi on 20 May 2019 at 19:10 PM
Mr Conservation
#6 Posted by Mr Conservation on 21 May 2019 at 09:28 AM
... awful scheme!
Scale, proportions, materiality and context all disregarded??
#7 Posted by Sven on 29 May 2019 at 14:12 PM
The juxtaposition of old and new is utterly off. It looks like the accountants took over the design to maximise profit over actually trying for the building to blend. Scale, proportion, materials and context as #6 has said has been ignored. This needs to be rejected.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#8 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 30 May 2019 at 11:53 AM
This is so bad that it nearly makes the new Queen Street station frontage look good.

As it stands it just makes the developer look blind and greedy.
#9 Posted by boaby on 19 Jun 2019 at 15:22 PM
So what happened to the Stallan-Brand proposal for the site that was worked up a few years ago...?

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