Radisson alterations to address capacity & accessibility
March 2 2021
A series of alterations have been proposed for Glasgow's Radisson Blu hotel including remodelled entrances to improve engagement with the street and a 'bold' rooftop extension - subject to a second imminent planning application.
Maith Design propose to glaze over the structural columns at the main entrance, instal a new copper canopy and a projecting glazed entrance to the basement together with enhanced pendant lighting to improve wayfinding.
The architectural consultancy wrote: "Unfortunately, due to the main building set back where the main entrance is located and the dominance of the projecting atrium, this has led to a lack of street engagement, with the main access point not prominent or clearly visible from the key junctions on the east and west approach."
Work will also take place to retail frontages with the introduction of a full-height shopfront running the length of the Oswald Street frontage to establish a more unified streetscape.
Responding to the proposed changes Alan Dunlop, original architect of the Radisson, said: "I was enjoying the morning until you sent me this. As the architect and designer of the Radisson SAS, a project that has garnered many architecture and hotel design awards, nationally and internationally. I write to object in the strongest possible terms to these proposals. From what I can discern from the plan and elevations submitted, it appears that the proposal glazes over the existing structural columns at the main entrance and installs a new copper canopy and a projecting glazed entrance to the basement.
"This will destroy the carefully designed foyer, which is recognised as one of the finest interior spaces in Scotland ( and of any hotel anywhere) and the sculptural column frontage to Argyle Street, with the canopy above. This building made Glasgow's financial district possible, acting as a stepping stone for the public and office staff from Central Station to the Broomielaw and the river.
"Additionally, in my view the drawings are so poor and lacking in any detail whatsoever that it is hard to see what is finally being proposed which is absurd for such an important building for Glasgow."
As part of the work, the Collage Corner Bar will be converted into a retail unit.
Additional comment from Alan Dunlop
I have only now seen the addition to the roof of the hotel, which I consider to be over-scaled, brutal and ill considered. Here is why: Although in 1999/2000, the west end of Argyle Street was rundown and the site had been derelict for some time, it sat within Glasgow's conservation area. As one of the city’s oldest thoroughfares, Argyle Street also still retained a character and a median height of twenty metres throughout its length.
Accordingly, the copper screen was set at 20 metres to respect and continue this median height, particularly so close to the Heilanman's Umbrella, and the scale of the thoroughfare but would allow me to build an additional one or two storey building behind. This is what happened.
I chose copper for the Radisson SAS front screen because I wanted to use an “indigenous” Glasgow material but in a dramatic way and was influenced by Gillespie Kidd and Coia’s use of copper over large areas, particularly at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Dennistoun. The copper screen is beautifully made and a credit to the Glasgow craftsmen that constructed it. It took months to set out and every shingle meets exactly where it is supposed to.
The lightweight and engineered screen acts as a foil to the buildings frontage and accommodates some flexibility of form in the Argyle Street elevation, pulling pull back from Glasgow’s grid line at the entrance to the hotel and helping to create a “public” space in-between. That space is important to the city and used for many high profile awards and functions.
The proposed rooftop addition is so over-scaled it dwarfs the screen. I can only assume it is a stalking horse, for in my view no architect could seriously propose such an addition to this building. It is clumsy and detracts from the carefully considered copper screen front and the contextual Argyle Street "Glasgow" elevation.
Again, I urge you to reject this application
A new revolving door will be installed at Robertson Street to address current weather/wind tunnel effects
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