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Council takeover sounds the death knell for Cumbernauld megastructure

March 11 2022

 Council takeover sounds the death knell for Cumbernauld megastructure

North Lanarkshire Council has reached an agreement in principle to purchase a sixties-era megastructure known as The Centre Cumbernauld, to enable town-centre regeneration.

The authority will take ownership of the sprawling complex with the intent to demolish the 1967 structure as part of its decade-long ambition of establishing a new town hub with modern retail, offices and a library.

A flagship component of the council's drive to establish a network of town hubs across the region the move seeks to provide enhanced amenity while reducing reliance on the car through the provision of active travel alternatives.

Council leader Jim Logue commented: “While the building represented the future in the 1960s, it is clear that it does not fit with residents’ vision of what they need from a modern town centre.

"While these plans will have a significant positive impact on Cumbernauld, they will take a number of years to realise. During that time, Cumbernauld remains open for business and the council will support retailers and other businesses throughout to maximise their potential and continue to attract custom.”

The decision ends hopes that the historically significant structure could be salvaged as a Brutalist Mecca. 

The current centre will remain open for business while redevelopment plans are progressed
The current centre will remain open for business while redevelopment plans are progressed
The town centre will be turned inside out with a series of street focussed buildings
The town centre will be turned inside out with a series of street focussed buildings


Fat Bloke on Tour
#1 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 11 Mar 2022 at 14:14 PM
It is called the Town Centre not the Centre.

You can get away with Phase 1 or Phase 2 if you are a local.

The unworldly felt tip fairies of 50/60's architecture owe an apology to the 45K residents of the town for what they inflicted on an unsuspecting populace.

Interesting idea killed stone dead by a complete lack of detail design and any understanding of how people lived their lives.

Shopping / public facilities placed at the top of a hill because the housewives of the town would go out -- uphill -- with an empty shopping basket and return home -- downhill -- with a full shopping basket.

60's middle class men telling 60's working class women how to organise their lives.

And then you have the CDC housing in North Carbrain where they forgot to budget for a proper roof -- flat roofs in felt was all they could afford.

It is crap like this that gives architects and central planning such a bad name.
Nairn's Bairn
#2 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 11 Mar 2022 at 16:20 PM
#1 I completely agree - buildings like this get a lot of coverage (and are revered by some) because they were a grand social experiment.

It's a shame that to experiment in architecture one really has to build the things and inflict them on a populace to see if they work.

For everybody's sake, knock down that eyesore and remove the visible remains of a few over-ambitious and egocentric architects. It's well past time.
#3 Posted by Pawe£ on 13 Mar 2022 at 09:58 AM
my problem is I don't think it will be replaced with anything better. Money doesn't go as far as it once went and its Cumbernauld not Merchant City, there wont be much funding or special interests. However maybe the future is a big physical amazon store & a home bargains and that's all we need. Stop living in the past Pawe£
#4 Posted by modernish on 14 Mar 2022 at 09:15 AM
The fact they've had to caption the proposed image with the name of the town says it could be literally anywhere! The same image is probably knocking around planning departments all over the island with 'Stevenage, Bridgened, Doncaster, delete as appropriate' noted on the bottom.
The original proposal was seriously flawed, but it might be worth drawing a breath and searching for a more 'local' solution. That looks like an awfully windy and wet new square.
Is critical regionalism still a thing? Perhaps it's due a revival. Post-critical regionalist solution here please.
#5 Posted by Alex on 14 Mar 2022 at 09:32 AM
Welcome the removal of this giant concrete box and replacing it with buildings which help create a street scene. It is a pity that the image of the replacement Council hub looks like a closed off building too as it only has one main entrance to the street. Are there any other uses that could be included with street level windows and doors at ground floor like a library, café or community space? The expanses of hard paving in the street outside will look very bleak on a rainy day. Cumbernauld has a great legacy of a woodland network and greenspaces throughout the town. Could the town centre design include this greenspace identity by providing more planters, clumps of trees and pocket park areas. These green areas will soak up the rain water, bring wildlife into the town centre, connect visually to neighbouring woods and greenspaces and provide attractive areas to sit on a sunny day.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#6 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 14 Mar 2022 at 09:58 AM
Street pattern -- great but you have to design in the local weather.

Roofs are cheap now.
Translucent roofs are pretty cheap as well.
Large open volumes would bring the outside feeling to the inside.

Woodland network -- having a laugh.
Very poorly managed where it still exists.
All on the periphery with most north of the M80.

Consequently tough gig to get it into the mix for the town centre -- although it might be worth asking the question.

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