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Dramatic Finnieston glasshouse idea labelled as a lockdown tonic

May 22 2020

Dramatic Finnieston glasshouse idea labelled as a lockdown tonic
Business owners on Argyle Street, Finnieston, have come together in support of dramatic plans to lift the street from its lockdown slumber by erecting a linear glasshouse to serve as an outdoor dining experience.
By banishing traffic from the thoroughfare it is hoped to draw people out from their homes by bringing the indoors outdoors along a glazed pavilion extending from Kelvingrove Street to Derby Street - retaining the current pavements for pedestrian and services access.
Conceived by local architect and Crabshakk owner John MacLeod the big idea centres on forming a short strip of commercial space for local businesses to weather the Covid-19 storm.
In an open letter to Glasgow City Council calling for a hearing, MacLeod wrote: "To see the area lying empty with no prospect of re-opening and the very real danger of some not opening at all, is heartbreaking.
"It seems 21st-century virus events may be cyclical and we have only now been exposed to the beginning of potentially a very different world ahead. The climate crisis will be knocking on the door in due course so new solutions and contingencies may well be the order of the day."
Citing the public good in a changed reality of open-ended social distancing measures Macleod cites the need for open-plan venues for patrons to eat and drink in relative safety, fearing that customers will be reluctant to return to more intimate settings.
A design team including Graven Images has been assembled to help put the proposal on a solid footing.
It is thought that the intervention would necessitate road closures and dversions along just one block of Sauchiehall Street
It is thought that the intervention would necessitate road closures and dversions along just one block of Sauchiehall Street


Bill S
#1 Posted by Bill S on 22 May 2020 at 09:56 AM
This is a creative solution to a very real problem. Whilst the architecture may not be to everyone's taste, I think it is a transient design that is perfectly suited to the function. It is great to read how so many of the local community have come together in support, and if the design offers safe, inclusive access for both users and employers, then what is not to like? If it necessitates the closure of but one road, then that is especially positive. More please - and if this is successful - then it could be a model to role out to other similar situations.
#2 Posted by David on 22 May 2020 at 10:23 AM
It's an idea that has already been executed in other European cities of similar size, albeit not the glasshouse idea. Here is a pedestrianised section in Milan, Italy (which has a very wet and cold climate during the winter months) where part of the street has been closed off to allow the bars and restaurants to spill out into the street,9.187414,2a,75y,172.1h,89.29t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1slYCkF1r0Ql1NcEAfEAFTQA!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656
Islands of sanity
#3 Posted by Islands of sanity on 22 May 2020 at 10:30 AM
Welcome but as ever we are so far behind best practice on the continent. For the past 40 years, Copenhagen has been actively giving roadspace back to people, for walking, cycling and spaces to enjoy.
#4 Posted by bairnsfan on 22 May 2020 at 11:51 AM
So if there is a fire in the upper floor of the tenements how would the fire brigade fight it ?
How would repairs to the tenements be carried out ? How will all the services running down the road -gas mains, sewers, etc - be diverted and who pays for this ? (Last time I checked Scottish Gas would not allow you to build over a domestic supply pipe let alone a major gas main).
James Hepburn
#5 Posted by James Hepburn on 22 May 2020 at 12:52 PM
It sounds like an ill-thought out idea. The impracticalities outweigh any merits and I'm surprised an architect has put forward the idea. It ignores the requirements of other tenants and businesses and seems to skate over any issues such as fire and maintenance access. I'm pretty sure other businesses would object to the restriction of flow of traffic into the area too. The project effectively blocks off access at five points to side streets where people live and work. What seems to be a better opportunity is to explore back courtyards which most of these businesses have access to.
The Bairn
#6 Posted by The Bairn on 22 May 2020 at 14:04 PM
Simply does not work in several respects.
Methinks the architect pinched the idea from similar structures erected along Edinburgh's George Street which was successfully aimed at the tourist market.
#7 Posted by Steppish on 22 May 2020 at 14:36 PM
You could make space by removing the majority of the parking and just having one lane of traffic heading west. Eastbound traffic can go along sauchiehall street (and down elderslie street if they need to reach finnieston street and the squinty bridge). That would give you all the space you need for outdoor tables and seating.

Would also make crossing the road on foot less of an utter pain in the arse than it is normally
#8 Posted by Elmo on 22 May 2020 at 14:37 PM
The easier solution would be to pedestrianize the street, and the shopfronts to reinstate awnings to provide shelter or canopies similar to those found in sunnier climates.
#9 Posted by Cadmonkey on 22 May 2020 at 15:08 PM
It is crucial that basic building regs matters are addressed and solved from the outset before business owners are asked to pay fees for an “assembled” design team.
Tom Manley
#10 Posted by Tom Manley on 23 May 2020 at 10:17 AM
Looks like this might create more problems than it solves. Pedestrianising the block and or limiting times vehicles can flow through might be more realistic. Surfaces could be delineated on the ground for seating and leisure ... question is who's going to pay for this...?
Gandalf the Pink
#11 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 23 May 2020 at 20:25 PM
Any time a scheme which involves closing off a section of road is proposed we always hear the same sob story about cars.

By far the majority of traffic through this area is on foot. Stop fussing about a relatively small number of people in cars having to go around the block. Change needs to happen, perhaps not this, but stop the fluffing of car use. Advanced cities around the world are moving away from cars in cities and we are getting anxious about a short section of tar.

Wake up folks.
Composit Stone
#12 Posted by Composit Stone on 24 May 2020 at 12:20 PM
The initial idea looks great but the practicalities of the scheme do not benefit the residents nor the ‘thoroughfare’.
I would suggest a more simple and achievable approach. Widen the pavements, instal sturdy canopies and outdoor gas heating (Paris style). This will allow each eaterie/cafe to extend their outdoor seating area despite the non sympathetic Scottish weather.
Frank Humber
#13 Posted by Frank Humber on 25 May 2020 at 15:08 PM
The crabshakk is tiny inside, with 2 meter social distancing between tables you could probably only fit 5 people inside, no wonder he is looking for ideas.

In would be expensive but could the maybe have the long glass house on a kind of overpass that goes over Argyll street at raised level. One problem with that is that you would then start blocking out light to nearby premises.
Ewan W
#14 Posted by Ewan W on 28 May 2020 at 12:12 PM
A nice idea at first glance but more of a fantasy that completely ignores residents. One large flaw is that pavements look like they would be more hemmed in than ever between existing buildings and this structure plonked in the middle of the road, going against the social distancing principle this is meant to enable?

The street itself is quite dark and shaded for a lot of the day with it being relatively narrow and consistently tall buildings for most of it's length so it isn't the nicest environment to sit out in. Merchant Square is a more successful incarnation of this in my opinion.

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