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Apartment bid calls time on the decay of Glasgow's historic High Street

March 1 2021

Apartment bid calls time on the decay of Glasgow's historic High Street

Brand new proposals have emerged for purpose-built rental apartments on Glasgow's historic High Street following a change of architect.

Structured House have brought Carson/Sall Architects on board for the prominent corner plot, reworking plans submitted by ADF in 2019 to provide 219 apartments above ground-floor commercial uses in the Central Conservation Area. The works will clear several severely dilapidated and half-demolished structures at the junction with George Street, including Old College Bar which will relocate to the ground floor of the new building, interiors and all.

Drawing inspiration from surviving warehouses in the Merchant City an abstract pressed metal spandrel frieze designed by artist Toby Paterson will run between the ground and first floors. Picking up on the corner curves of the A-listed Herald Building the facade is further elaborated with an embedded clock, a civic gesture to the street below.

Rising through eleven storeys the building will be topped by a bronze upper floor crown and communal terraces, resting atop a heavier limestone facade which will be broken up into a series of bays of varying width. A heavily glazed ground-floor meanwhile will be lined with circular concrete columns, a nod to an Italian palazzo.

Voicing their design approach Carson/Sall wrote: "The proposal has an undeniably civic nature in its design and scale. The palette, therefore, is restrained with masonry used as the primary material throughout to express the solidity of the façade, mirroring the monumentality of the TIC building and Collegelands.

"The sizing of the masonry panels responds to the scale of the adjacent elevations and create a monolithic grounding. Deep-set apertures punctuate the massing and draw reference from other grand buildings in Glasgow, such as James Miller's Union Bank and National Commercial Bank, by creating a play of shadows to accentuate the interplay of solid and void."

Existing access through Nicholas Street will be retained with direct access to George Street Shuttle Street via double-height pends. Backcourt areas around the B-listed former British Linen Bank will be given over to shared green space.

A new pedestrian crossing will connect directly to a redeveloped High Street Station
A new pedestrian crossing will connect directly to a redeveloped High Street Station
Demolition of the eyesore buildings has been on the cards since the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Demolition of the eyesore buildings has been on the cards since the 2014 Commonwealth Games

It is envisaged the south facing landscape garden will incorporate a showcase for Glasgow based artists involving the likes of Civic Room, GSA, GI, The Modern Institute and Glasgow Life
It is envisaged the south facing landscape garden will incorporate a showcase for Glasgow based artists involving the likes of Civic Room, GSA, GI, The Modern Institute and Glasgow Life
Landowner Colin Beattie has aspirations to transform Nicholas Street into the Ashton Lane of the east
Landowner Colin Beattie has aspirations to transform Nicholas Street into the Ashton Lane of the east

South facing grounds around Nicholas Street could host a sculpture park
South facing grounds around Nicholas Street could host a sculpture park


Robert Nesbitt
#1 Posted by Robert Nesbitt on 1 Mar 2021 at 11:08 AM
I don’t see the pub in the new building / will this be another con? Can you confirm how much a pint will be? It better not be those silly west end prices
#2 Posted by youcantfitquickerthanakwikfitfitter on 1 Mar 2021 at 11:16 AM
That really does look brilliant! Creates a real positive entrance into that area of town.

I hope the Old College Bar remove me from the barred list.
Something positive....
#3 Posted by Something positive.... on 1 Mar 2021 at 11:35 AM
There is no getting away from this being a big improvement to what is currently there, and a step up from previous proposals for this site. If we are being picky the massing could have been refined a little more but overall it's a yes from me.
Josephine King
#4 Posted by Josephine King on 1 Mar 2021 at 12:11 PM
Where have the tenements on the High Street gone? Are they going to demolish them!?
Not confused for once
#5 Posted by Not confused for once on 1 Mar 2021 at 12:13 PM
That clock is a lovely feature. These small details are often missed out of modern proposals so it's nice to see - hope this gets built. Significant improvement than what is there right now....
#6 Posted by Enlightened on 1 Mar 2021 at 12:26 PM
I think this is an excellent design, fitting in well with its neighbours. It is really good that the small red building with gables and the cupola to the south can be kept too. Overall the new proposal has a lot of attractive features like the curved ends and the clock, plus allows the pub to be incorporated as a community asset.
#7 Posted by pooka on 1 Mar 2021 at 12:41 PM
If those involved in the project have finished commenting can we resume normal service?
Hugh Janus
#8 Posted by Hugh Janus on 1 Mar 2021 at 13:00 PM
Ashton Lane of the east? You mean full of drunks and pick pockets? Also the design is so generic what has it to do with old warehouses? Should have kept the tennements or at least painted it red
#9 Posted by spike on 1 Mar 2021 at 13:35 PM
This looks truly awful, a 1960's building with a glass box stuck on the top. Even the external finish is poor and doesn't harmonise with the surrounding buildings.
Why not make a feature of the building where it abuts the High St and George St ?
This site needs a good design which this does not provide
#10 Posted by David on 1 Mar 2021 at 14:10 PM
I think this proposal is terrific, a definite step up from the previous two that were put forward. Not quite sure where the other comments are coming from about demolishing tenements, this proposal would only demolish the corner building that houses the Old College and is currently derelict, covered in scaffolding and a real eyesore. #7, what exactly is normal service? Trashing and being really negative about absolutely any proposal for our country's largest city without any real critique or analysis over the designs? #8 I think the warehouse comparison is being made with the reference to the window fenestration which is a little similar to some of the warehouse conversions around Wilson Street. Is that a street also full of drunks and pickpockets?
#11 Posted by Chris on 1 Mar 2021 at 14:19 PM
Yeah I'm not sure what these people are smoking. Have to look at the Moxy hotel across the street and tell me this is a bad proposal.
#12 Posted by EM0 on 1 Mar 2021 at 14:29 PM
This is hideous, the gap sites in High St need replaced with buildings that have classical details echoed throughout them, to honour the history of the street. A simple walk up and down it, will show you that modern squares have not worked. In any other city in the world, they would not settle for their oldest street being treated with this disregard! Shame again on GCC - sold out again !!
Whispering Andy
#13 Posted by Whispering Andy on 1 Mar 2021 at 14:40 PM
Whisper it........ but I really like this proposal. Nice to see a bit of support for it on here too, rather than the usual allotments tripe.

It sits well with the adjacent buildings if you ask me, and brings a real sense of place to an otherwise non-descript cross road.

Its presence actually helps to integrate the moxy and collegelands into the area.

Would be interested in further discussing the negative comments, as i cannot see this development from their perspective - am i missing something?
#14 Posted by Chris on 1 Mar 2021 at 14:53 PM
Reality check - the days of Victorian Glasgow are long gone.

Those grand buildings were built during a time when our forebears were given a tuppence to work themselves to an early grave. Not to mention an economy that was propped up with imperialism. Time to take off the rose-tinted specs.
#15 Posted by EM0 on 1 Mar 2021 at 15:09 PM
Reality check, there isn’t a modern building in Glasgow that any of its citizens or visitors are even moderately excited about!
#16 Posted by Chris on 1 Mar 2021 at 15:20 PM
#15 So who's going to stump up the extravagant costs of fulfilling your pastiche fantasies?
Fat Bloke on Tour
#17 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 1 Mar 2021 at 15:30 PM
Trying too hard -- to much building for the plot involved.

Lack of parking -- not very big city is it.
Should have had basement parking to stop the adjacent streets being overwhelmed.

Has the look of post student digs -- no families need apply.

Has scale / much needed filler -- just a case that it would have been better as a hotel / serviced apartments.

Also -- bigger clock please.
Ashton Lane -- get real.
You need real stuff going on not back doors to commercial developments.

At best a C+.
#18 Posted by Jimbo on 1 Mar 2021 at 16:03 PM
Decent development as far as I can see
G Man
#19 Posted by G Man on 1 Mar 2021 at 16:56 PM
Ashton Lane of the East, so pretentious and cliché, place was stinking of p1sh not too long ago, spew by the barrel-load.

Anybody that wants to complain about this development, go with the rest of the goldfish bowl foamers on the Glasgow Evening Times website, its a better proposal than that tower from a while back. To keep the buildings that are there would only help to foster a rise in addiction to suspect substances, it currently has that look of 1970's Bronx about it.
HighStreet Hallion
#20 Posted by HighStreet Hallion on 1 Mar 2021 at 17:41 PM
#14 , well said. Personally prefer the previous proposal with the stepped back facades, smaller scale, and reference to the red sandstone materiality of the high street but think this one's... alright. Worries they'll cheap out on the facade at the 11th hour and end up with a moxy 2.0 though...
P Wilson
#21 Posted by P Wilson on 1 Mar 2021 at 19:20 PM
I agree with the previous posts, the first few commenters must be involved with the project. Such gushing praise for something that's mediocre at best sets off alarm bells.
I fail to see how this is any better than what was shown before. The massing and footprint look very similar, the facade treatment is bland and lazy on this iteration. Omitting the corner tenement in the CGI is a cop-out, you can't quite judge how large the corner tower is in relation to the existing blocks I suspect. The true test of this scheme is the view down the high street, suspiciously missing...
The Bairn
#22 Posted by The Bairn on 1 Mar 2021 at 19:46 PM
A scheme full of merit in my opinion.
Not sure about living on top floors, with too much glass for comfort, unless the 'bronze upper floor crown' holds the residents roof top bar/ballroom and swimming pool facilities.
Ophelia Brastmoor
#23 Posted by Ophelia Brastmoor on 1 Mar 2021 at 19:50 PM
The biggest joke for me is the mock up pictures. One of the cars is a Bentley - don’t think the gangsters have moved in yet -rofl

#21 shame on your cynical comments
Maggie fae tha block
#24 Posted by Maggie fae tha block on 1 Mar 2021 at 19:56 PM
I bet yee they put the price oh a fish supper up noo after this place Gits put up - typical poshos that chippy nearby is ma hidden gem
Glasgow City Committee
#25 Posted by Glasgow City Committee on 2 Mar 2021 at 11:02 AM
#4 They obviously can't demolish something that's not part of the proposal but it looks like the buildings have been removed in the artists impression so that it is viewed in the context of the George Street university property and not the tenements. Obviously, there is something of concern in the view with the tenements included. Showing the huge change in scale to the high street might highlight an issue. #21 is right in this respect, I think.
#5 The clock is a strange thing to do in today's world where everyone is constantly on their phone. On one and it is a little pastiche look backwards to a foregone time but on the other it is not enough of a feature on the building to really make it stand out like our Victorian examples. As an interruption in the vertical banding of the facade, it looks somewhat similar to the Spanish inverted exclamation.
#6 I'm not seeing the respect to its neighbours you refer to. It clearly takes its cue from the university buildings on George Street and if you are a developer looking to maximise your return that's going to be what you want to do. However, it pays little or no respect to the buildings and scale and materiality of those on one of Glasgow's oldest streets. In fact, the Linen Bank on the High Street becomes a minuscule subordinate in its total loss of stature by adjacency.
#8 You obviously have a very unfortunate view of Ashton Lane. I struggle to see any comparison to a Victorian mews lane here though.
#10 I think you are right that it's a step up on the previous designs but this proposal has still not dealt with the High Street in a meaningful manner that shows any cognisance of the heritage, scale or value of the place.
#12 Unfortunately I think you are trying to suggest this should be some kind of awful pastiche and that is definitely not what should be done. It should be possible to respect the heritage of the place without doing that.
#17 I agree with your comments on parking. This is proposed as a huge residential scheme and it's obviously inevitable that residents, or some, will have cars at some point. Car free schemes have nearly worked on some smaller scale developments, especially in the West End gap sites where they were originally trialled but there are always one or two occupants that sneak the use of a car, hidden in the surrounding streets. The problem is, with a development of this scale, it's never going to be just one or two. I agree too that this looks like a student hall and wonder whether that is really what the developer wants to build, but the city will not allow it? To have so many very small studios and single aspect flats with very little amenity and no parking really suggests this kind of transient resident is who the developer is targeting.
I think this drop in aspiration of the city's residential design guidance is the bigger issue. How are we to maintain or improve on the quality of the city's housing stock if we have no control over the increasingly smaller size of the flats. And developers can ignore the current aspirations to have few or no single aspect homes. In this respect the development does aspire to a kind of pastiche – in moving another step towards a revival of the wrong kind of Victorian landlord. There are already some high-profile developments pursuing this micro home 'build to rent' ideology in the city and I wonder if it is something we should be concerned about. A single low-quality typology infecting the city on such a large scale. Yes, it's good to have a mix of the homes available in the city centre but to have so many of a single typology coming on stream in the near future is more than a little concerning, I think.
#26 Posted by MV on 2 Mar 2021 at 16:37 PM
I'll keep this one short. I can't see past the clock. The clock. All I can see is the clock. Even in the views that don't show the corner... I still see the clock. The clock has to go.
#27 Posted by Glaswegian on 5 Mar 2021 at 16:35 PM
Glasgow tried this style of building in the 1960s and said it was a model for a new, modern and go-ahead city. We are still suffering for that opinion today. What is proposed pays not even the slightest of nods to the history or heritage of a High Street which has been allowed to decay by successive 'city fathers' for decades half a century or more. The building shown in the photographs is just another tower block.

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