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At-risk Glasgow office block earmarked for serviced apartments

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November 23 2020

At-risk Glasgow office block earmarked for serviced apartments

A B-listed office block in Glasgow city centre which has remained vacant for a quarter of a century, falling onto the Buildings at Risk Register in the meantime, is to be put back to use as serviced apartments for short-term rental.

55 West Regent Street has lost much of its internal fabric over the years and will be extensively remodelled by Wellwood Leslie including the addition of a three-storey extension to the rear on West Regent Lane to accommodate a mix of 96 one-bedroom and studio apartments.

This will necessitate a significant reconfiguration of the roof which will follow the pitch of the current roof at fifth-floor level with the new addition rising behind in tiers through a newly created seventh and eighth floor.

In a statement of intent, the architects observed: "The internal layout of the facility has been designed wherever possible to align with the existing major structural walls and ensure the existing window configuration is not compromised in any way. A new additional enclosed fire exist stair is now incorporated within the building footprint to ensure compliance with current building regulations in terms of fire escape. the proposed roof extension is laid out in a manner to reflect the existing lower levels and elevational articulation.

"The proposed reconfigured roof will sit comfortably between the existing stone bay window vertical element to the east and the existing sandstone gable element to the west. At sixth floor level it will sit behind the line of the existing stone chimney. The proposed roof will be finished in matt dark grey cladding to match the existing slate roof colour with glazing arranged in reference to the classical façade."

A south-facing terrace will be created as part of these works for residents of the uppermost level.

The classical façade will be renovated as part of the plans
The classical façade will be renovated as part of the plans
The new extension is designed to 'mimic' the massing of Castle Chambers next door
The new extension is designed to 'mimic' the massing of Castle Chambers next door

8 Comments

David
#1 Posted by David on 23 Nov 2020 at 12:55 PM
Great to see this proposed, it would complement the restoration of the rest of the building from around 15 years ago, let's hope it goes ahead.
Adam
#2 Posted by Adam on 24 Nov 2020 at 17:53 PM
What about Lion Chambers 170 Hope St Glasgow? It has been derelict since 1995 and is very much at risk. Numerous schemes to do something with it have failed and it will fall down if it is not knocked down. The 'revolutionary' system used to construct the A listed tower has failed and it now needs to be demolished to bring the site back in to use. The owners will sell for £1.
David
#3 Posted by David on 25 Nov 2020 at 12:42 PM
#2 Adam, who owns the building? It used to house many lawyers offices, as well as the Italian Consulate. It can be seen in 1968 in this image, which I think shows just how spectacular it could be if refurbished:
https://www.architecture.com/image-library/RIBApix/image-information/poster/lion-chambers-170172-hope-street-glasgow/posterid/RIBA5928.html
RJB
#4 Posted by RJB on 25 Nov 2020 at 14:09 PM
Great to see works happening to this building. The proposed apartments look a little on the grim side (size and window wise), but i guess thats what the market will bear

RJB
#5 Posted by RJB on 25 Nov 2020 at 14:12 PM
#2
I'm also interested to know who owners it. I had assumed it had many owners and that was a factor in the stalled schemes.

The building seems to sum up the issues with conservation of the b-list masterpieces
Whispering Andy
#6 Posted by Whispering Andy on 25 Nov 2020 at 15:48 PM
Whisper it.....@2,3 and 5 but sometimes we have to let these iconic building go when they pass their viable lifecycle.

It is a sore loss, but I would rather see it make way for a modern building that works instead of the pro tempore we find ourselves in: the building moving closer to demo after another couple of decades of romantic notions destined to fail.
Grim Beeper
#7 Posted by Grim Beeper on 25 Nov 2020 at 21:49 PM
#6 Agreed WA. We continually read puff pieces about the refurb of these buildings kicking off in a few months and then all goes quiet. They always come up against the same problems! Great to see this building progress and maybe the Design Team have got lucky or are just good. Well done in any case!
Adam
#8 Posted by Adam on 1 Dec 2020 at 16:03 PM
The building is in multiple ownership, which is part of the problem. Some have disappeared. (It did indeed house the Honorary Italian Consul, lawyer Osvaldo Franchi.)
Whispering Andy is correct in my opinion. This building is beyond economic repair and it is long past time to let go. The floor plates in the tower are around a central lift and stair shaft, so that the space is relatively small and fragmented. The value of any resultant office or residential accomodation would be a small fraction of the costs to repair. If it is deemed of public value, as implied by A listing, the public in the name of the Council or a Preservation Trust has to pay. All that has been tried and has failed. It is just being left to rot, which is the worst of all outcomes.

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