VOL9 ISSUE37 SPRING 2019
AB E R DE E N MUSIC H ALL: EYE-CATCHING DESIGN TENEMENT MAINTENANCE GLASGOW CITY URBANIST INTERIORS REPORT
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I F TO AN ES
This issue of Urban Realm is all about expanding horizons both geographic and professionally as we cast an eye around the globe in search of exemplary work which is either informing approached at home or being informed by it. The journey begins with a trip to Saudi Arabia which is turning to the universal language of architecture to help it open up to new markets and opportunities. The most recent example of this approach is a desert concert venue (pg 70) which proves isolation need be no barrier to design. The setting may be radically different but the same pressures of audience comfort, acoustics and identity can be found at the remodel of Aberdeen Music Hall by BDP (pg 64). We chat to the team behind it to see what can be achieved on a relatively tight budget.
Staying in the Middle East architect Jaromir Gasiorek returns from Turkey (pg 76) to give us the lowdown on how the country is making the best of a bad situation by drawing upon energy efficiency expertise gained in Edinburgh for the restoration of historic buildings amid regional instability. Problems closer to home command the attention of Brian Evans, Glasgowâ€™s newly appointed City Urbanist (pg 56). We catch up with a look at his vision for an arc of prosperity spanning the River Clyde. For every two steps forward Glasgow seems to take one step back, as Sean Kinnear finds when paying a visit to Sauchiehall Street (pg 40). With the former ABC Cinema now reduced to a pile of rubble we ask what can be done to stop the rot. John Glenday, editor
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CONT ENTS QUARTERLY DIGEST 12 INTERIORS REPORT 26 DEVELOPER VIEWS 34 LIBERTON BARNS 40 SAUCHIEHALL STREET 48 TENEMENT MAINTENANCE 56 GLASGOW CITY ARCHITECT 64 ABERDEEN MUSIC HALL 70 MARAYA 76 TURKEY 82 SHUPP-KREMER 90 PRESTON BUS STATION 96 DIRECTORY 97 PRODUCTS 05
Cover image: Aberdeen Music Hall by BDP/David Barbour
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Q U A R T E R L Y D I G E S T J A N
SNOWSPORTS VISION Midlothian Council is to stage a drop-in event to communicate plans to transform Midlothian Snowsports Centre into a yearround leisure destination. A pre-planning application notice has already been filed for the scheme, which
would be augmented by the introduction of new activities including a zip line, ‘alpine coaster’ and an activity dome to broaden the appeal of the Hillend attraction, as well as ‘glamping’ wigwams, a function room and infrastructure improvements.
BRIEFS Fife Council has awarded planning consent for a new Madras College at North Haugh, St Andrews, offering teaching facilities for 1,450 pupils. The three-storey school has been designed by AHR Architects to replace existing facilities at Kilrymont and South Street and will be reached via a dedicated link road which is already under construction. Dandara Group with CDA Architects have come forward with plans to build 125 homes at Edinburgh’s Marionville Road, spread across four grouped apartment blocks anchoring a linear mews terrace. Located in Lochend the scheme will maximise green space by placing car parking below a landscaped deck, providing gardens and amenity for the four flanking apartment blocks.
Glasgow City Council has progressed its vision to deck over a section of the M8 motorway through Charing Cross as part of a wider public realm initiative for the area born out of the Sauchiehall Avenue project. The authority has awarded a £250k contract for a design feasibility study on the idea shortly, encompassing engineering considerations, costs, a construction strategy and traffic management.
Edinburgh has reeled in a second major film studio after PSL Land revived their stalled bid to build the facility, this time at a new location adjacent in Dalkeith. A 48-acre site has been identified at Salter’s Park for the studio vision, subject to its sale by Buccleuch Estates. A proposal of application notice has already been filed by Keppie for a mix of soundstages, a film academy and student accommodation.
COPPER CCG and Mast Architects have been given the go-ahead by Elderpark Housing Association to proceed with a £14.5m residential and commercial development at the former Hill’s Trust School in Govan. The copper-themed project will deliver 82 terraced houses and cottage flats, alongside office space within the B-listed school itself.
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Blackhall St Columba’s Church at Queensferry Road, Edinburgh, is on track to deliver a £2.2m overhaul, with work commencing this May. A spacious expansion is planned by Lee Boyd Architects for the B-listed landmark by removing pews and redeveloping the sanctuary, halls and entrances to create a more comfortable, flexible and accessible space. Norr Architects have come forward with plans to develop a 40 home riverfront apartment block in Yoker, Glasgow, extending a wave of development around the Renfrew Yoker Ferry. Undercroft parking elevates the flats 8.5m above sea level to mitigate flood risk. Summix and 3DReid Architects have put forward new plans for 91 purpose-built student flats off Edinburgh’s historic Canongate. The vacant Old Town site will play host to a brick-clad new build behind the retained façade of a former gasworks on Old Tolbooth Wynd, reintroducing an active ground floor.
Q U A R T E R L Y J A N D I G E S T MET OFFICE
Osborne+Co have appointed Cooper Cromar Architects to convert Glasgow’s B-listed Metropolitan Tower into ‘defurbished’ office space following their purchase of the prominent former college buildings. Latterly earmarked for a £100m hotel and student residential scheme the site will now be subject to extensive refurbishment to accommodate grade A office space alongside serviced apartments on Cathedral Street.
Mount Stuart Trust are proposing to demolish a pre-1900’s farmhouse overlooking Gallachan Bay on the Isle of Bute, to make room for six detached homes modelled as a modern clachan. The 9,000sq/m site is being handled by Architeco and is accessible from the A844, offering expansive southerly views across the Sound of Bute to the Isle of Arran.
PIER PRESSURE Argyll & Bute Council has approved plans to deliver an £18m leisure development designed by DarntonB3 Architects on the towns pierhead, replacing an existing leisure centre and swimming pool. Proposed work will include new parking and beefed up flood defences, with potential for further shops, a play area and skate park at a later date.
CLYDESIDE CO-WORKING A £100m Keppie-designed build to rent tower on the banks of the River Clyde has been cleared to begin construction in the third quarter with the award of planning consent for the 498-apartment project. Platform_ filed for permission in
September last year for four blocks of accommodation ranging in height from six storeys up to 20 which will also house a mix of co-working spaces, a shared residents lounge, concierge, roof terraces, gym and games room.
BRIEFS The Royal Blind School in Craigmillar Park, Edinburgh, is to be repurposed as housing under plans by CALA to refurbish the C-listed main building with further new build development in its grounds. Michael Laird Architects are leading this effort with the aim of restoring ‘clarity’ to the main building by stripping back later extensions scattered around the 3.5-acre site, improving its setting and rationalising vehicle movements. Landscaping will be used to protect the setting of Langgarth House and lodge. Proposals to complete the missing link in Stirling’s inner ring road have been filed by WSP, with plans for a new road, pedestrian and cycle route connecting St Ninians Road to the A9. The Viewforth Link Road is being backed by Stirling Council as a means of reducing congestion in the city centre by redistributing traffic to the south, improving pedestrian and cycle connections in the process. CALA have opened the doors to the first homes at their Donaldson’s College development, a sweeping crescent of new build homes arcing around the restored and converted William Playfair designed landmark. Designed by Richard Murphy Architects and Alexander James Interiors the £90m project has been delivered by BAM Construction. Structured House Group have gone public with a 200-home build to rent project at the junction of High Street and George Street, Glasgow. Merchant Residential has been designed by ADF Architects, (now under the control of administrators, see pg 10) to appeal to entrepreneurs working in the city through provision of co-working and start-up office space in addition to new homes and a cafe.
Q U A R T E R L Y D I G E S T F E B
Glasgow City Council is consulting on plans for a linear river park along both banks of the River Clyde through the Broomielaw. Part of a wider waterfront masterplan for the city centre, which seeks to establish
a high-density riverfront neighbourhood flanking the Kingston Bridge, the park seeks to negate some of the pollution, noise and physical disconnection presently associated with the motorway link.
Hoskins Architects have returned to the Grassmarket Centre, originally completed by the practice in 2013, in order to deliver a courtyard extension offering additional teaching space. Home to the Grassmarket Community Project the centre serves as a support hub for vulnerable people and includes a public café which will also be expanded to cater for demand.
Edinburgh Napier University and Oberlanders have brought forward plans for a novel mountain bike innovation centre at Innerleithen in the Borders. Operated by Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), the centre would serve as a hub for the surrounding trail network, which would be upgraded with professional jump runs as well as more family-oriented routes. A full business case is currently being drawn up for the build in order to attract the required funding.
LOST & FOUND A dormant Falkirk distillery is to be fired up again following approval of a £12m scheme to restart production at Rosebank, retaining period features such as a landmark chimney and creating a contemporary new build extension in the process. Spearheaded by Ian Macleod Distillers and Michael Laird Architects the scheme will see the mothballed site brought back into productive use by autumn 2020.
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BRIEFS Architects Malcolm Fraser and Robin Livingstone have reunited behind a new practice four years on from the closure of Malcolm Fraser Architects. Livingstone worked at MFA for a decade before moving onto 7N Architects but will now come full circle as a founding partner in Fraser/Livingstone Architects. Fraser meanwhile has spent the intervening years working for Halliday Fraser Munro and has been a champion of RIAS reform. Paisley’s A-listed Coats Memorial Church could play host to a multi-purpose entertainment venue with the launch of a £1.5m fundraising campaign to make the dream a reality. Local practice Framed Estates have been commissioned to prepare a feasibility study for a change of use for the A-listed church to form a mixed art, music and entertainment venue. McTaggart Construction has commenced delivery of a modern travellers site in Girvan, encompassing seven chaletstyle bungalows for delivery by September. Budgeted at £1.54m the project is being funded by South Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government. St Andrews Links Trust has brought forward plans for a 1,200sq/ft headquarters designed by Nicoll Russell Studios within the home of golf. The office building will unite 50 head office staff under one roof for the first time, offering open plan office space, meeting rooms and training areas. A mountain bike centre for the Pentland Hills, including an enabling commercial development, has been proposed in readiness for the 2023 cycling World Championships. The Pentland Trail Centre has been master planned by HarrisonStevens Landscape Architects.
Q U A R T E R L Y F E B D I G E S T RIVER CITY
BRIEFS Drinks giant Diageo has stepped up plans for a nationwide network of visitor attractions with the submission of plans for a hub attraction on Edinburgh’s Princes Street. The Johnnie Walker visitor centre would occupy the former House of Fraser department store, which will be renovated by Simpson & Brown Architects to include a ‘sensory’ display.
Glasgow City Council is considering a £56m masterplan for the Water Row area of Govan which could deliver 200 homes and 3,500sq/m of commercial space alongside public realm improvements to capitalise on a proposed Govan-Partick swing bridge. Developed in partnership with Govan Housing Association, Collective Architecture and the Central Govan Action Plan completion isn’t expected before May 2021. Highland Council has backed a four-star boutique hotel on the site of a former golf course at Portree on the Isle of Skye. Modelled by West Port & Company on a bothy the hotel takes the form of a 450sq/m reception, restaurant, lounge and whisky room, set amid scattered cabins arranged across the landscape in three small clusters.
City of Edinburgh planners have lent their approval to a mixed-use makeover of The Royal Hospital for Sick Children by Downing. Fletcher Joseph Architects have been commissioned to oversee the masterplan which will see the B-listed main building receive a sensitive refurbishment with new build residential blocks built in the grounds. Holmes Miller Architects have filed plans for a new Canaan Lane Primary School and nursery on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council. Replacing an existing care home in the Grange Conservation Area the school will stand alongside the retained Deanbank House which will serve as a classroom annexe to the main new build. Glasgow Housing Association and Collective Architecture have won approval for affordable housing on the Merchant City’s Watson Street, after meeting resistance from neighbours on the grounds of loss of daylight. This saw initial plans for a 10-storey block reduced to nine with a visually set back upper floor.
The rejuvenation of Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge has taken a significant step forward with the submission of mixed-use plans by 3DReid and Vastint Hospitality centred on Freer Street. New Fountainbridge will benefit from 234 homes for private rent as
well as 745sq/m of commercial space in properties ranging from studios through to three-bedroom family homes; including town houses, duplex apartments and ‘penthouse’ suites with access to their own private rooftop terrace.
Dundee has laid out its growth priorities through to 2029 in the form of an updated local development plan. The’town centre first’ strategy prioritises the delivery of new homes while protecting existing shopping streets, green spaces and historic buildings.
Q U A R T E R L Y D I G E S T M A R
WALK THIS WAY Page\Park Architects have completed a new wayfinding initiative for the start of the West Highland Way in Milngavie, transforming the unceremonious beginnings of the famous walk.
BRIEFS Large format Corten steel panels are interspersed with 96 individual timber posts, one for each mile of the subsequent route, replacing views of a service yard, tarmac and blank gable wall.
ADF Architects have shocked staff and clients by appointing administrators French Duncan, ending 30 years in practice with the loss of 27 jobs. Headed by former RIAS president David Dunbar ADF was busy throughout Glasgow, working on a PRS project on the High Street, a student residential development in Partick and a mixed-use development at Glasgow Harbour. Former employees are being asked to claim arrears from the Redundancy Payments Office. Summix Capital and 3DReid have filed plans for a £15m student residential build on Edinburgh’s London Road to deliver 198 beds opposite Meadowbank Stadium and adjacent to a further proposal for 33 flats. The energy-efficient design will include low flow toilets, taps and showers. On-site cycle storage will discourage car use, with just four dedicated spaces provided.
LBA has won planning consent from Midlothian Council to build a ‘secret garden’ home within the Eskbank and Ironmills conservation of Dalkeith. The three-bedroom property will sit discreetly within the grounds of the C-listed Mayfield Lodge, offering a contemporary residence amid garden grounds.
The City of Edinburgh could become far more pedestrian friendly following the publication of responses to a city-wide consultation exercise which support a shift from vehicles to people. Plans drawn up by Jacobs call for key routes such as The Royal Mile, Cowgate and Lothian Road to be overhauled, with efforts focused on reducing vehicle traffic and creating a car-free environment.
TERRACE APPROVAL LBA and Wemyss Properties have won backing from City of Edinburgh Council to proceed with eight homes at Craigleith Terrace, in line with their Georgian forebears. Comprising eight properties the scheme replaces a former petrol filling station, creating a contemporary infill development finished in buff brick.
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Resolution Property has brought forward plans for a significant facelift to Edinburgh’s Ocean Terminal Shopping centre, rebranding it as the Porta Centre in the process. A design submission by Threesixty Architecture outlines the full refurbishment of entrances and the façade with a vibrant colour scheme modelled on the Royal Navy’s dazzle camouflage luring shoppers inside Calum Duncan Architects have prepared plans for a £1.7m clubhouse for Broomieknowe Golf Club, Midlothian. Oriented on an east, west axis the clubhouse presents a domestic scale southeastern frontage to visitors. The rear elevation meanwhile maximises views over the course from a glazed first-floor lounge.
Q U A R T E R L Y M A R D I G E S T JACOB’S LADDER
A dramatic path hewn from the volcanic rock of Calton Hill has reopened following a programme of extensive repairs and improvements carried out by Edinburgh World Heritage. Jacob’s Ladder benefits from new lighting and handrails as well as stonework repairs allowing people to traverse all 140 steps from Calton Road to Regent Road in style, rewarding those who make the effort with expansive views (see pg 4).
Patrizia has unveiled ambitious proposals to transform Aberdeen Market with an eye-catching ‘lantern’ tower. Overseen by Halliday Fraser Munro the scheme would include the creation of an outdoor market, public square and enlarged Green, achieved by shifting the main frontage east, with 130,000sq/ft of office space and active ground floor uses earmarked for new build elements.
Moxon Architects have brought a Braemar hotel back to its best following an extensive renovation of The Fife Arms. The B-listed venue has been subject to a wide-ranging overhaul at the hands of current owners Iwan and Manuela Wirth, co-presidents of art gallery Hauser & Wirth, reconfiguring the layout to accommodate a new courtyard and extensive art collection.
LBA has won planning consent for a radical renovation of an existing cottage in Anstruther, Fife, by subdividing an existing property into two homes. Located at 5 Ellice Street on the edge of the Cellardyke Conservation Area, the project will see the current dwelling extended via a single storey rear extension and boundary wall through the current rear courtyard.
Queensberry Properties have gone back to the drawing board at Glasgow’s Otago Lane with the submission of plans by jmarchitects for 49 flats in four blocks along the riverbank. Two storey setbacks are introduced at a high level to soften apparent scale with a palette of light brick above a darker base course. Landscaping is by RankinFraser.
Mast Architects have obtained planning consent for a mixed-use development at Clydebank’s Queens Quay, centred on 146 apartments for social rent overlooking the Titan Crane. The first of a number of high-density residential developments planned for the waterfront the homes will be operated by Cube and Clydebank Housing Associations and adopt a robust urban form in response to a desire by West Dunbartonshire Council to create a new focal point for the town. A fundraising campaign has been launched to raise capital in support of a wholesale reimagining of Princes Street Gardens to create a landmark destination at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. The Quaich Project is the brainchild of the Ross Development Trust which aims to establish a new venue on the site of the current Ross Bandstand to designs by GRAS and wHY.
WESTERN HARBOUR 7N Architects have fleshed out their plans for a new neighbourhood on Edinburgh’s neglected waterfront with the submission of detailed plans for Western Harbour. A collaboration between Forth Ports
and Rettie the project will deliver 938 homes as well as shops, commercial space, a health centre and primary school – all centred on a huge new park incorporating play areas, meadows and woodland.
Expresso Property and Holmes Miller Architects have brought forward plans for the latest addition to Glasgow’s Pacific Quay, a waterfront office block offering some 60.000sq/ft of accommodation. The property will be finished in fibre cement boards, metallic panels and welded steel mesh.
Whitehorn Hall by HLM for the University of St Andrews offers a sociable arrival space ©DAVID BARBOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
URBAN REALM DIVES INTO THE WORLD OF INTERIOR DESIGN FOR OUR SPRING FOCUS AS WE CAST AN EYE OVER 2019’S STAND OUT SPACES. WE REACH OUT TO THE INDUSTRY IN PURSUIT OF THE LATEST CONCEPTS, CHALLENGES AND CHANGES WHICH LOOK SET TO USHER IN A SEA CHANGE IN THINKING.
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Mhairi-Claire Wilkes Junior Interior Designer HLM What are your growth priorities for the year ahead? HLM are constantly growing, in particular we have been expanding our portfolio in the residential, hospitality and commercial sectors. Student accommodation is a thriving market, in 2018 we completed Caledon Court in Aberdeen for Fresh Student Living, University Walk in Aberdeen for Student Roost as well as Whitehorn Hall and Powell Hall for the University of St Andrews and Campus Living Villages. We have also seen a large area of growth in the hospitality sector, where we are working with IHG on their Principal >
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portfolio rebranding project of the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow which involves refurbishing the hotel to their new VOCO brand. What project best encapsulates the work and ethos of your practice? Our belief in the importance of design quality, sustainability and innovation has driven our design of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland. NMIS is an ambitious project located in Renfrewshire which will provide a stateof-the-art facility where research, industry and the public sector will work together to transform skills, productivity and innovation to attract investment and make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing. The interior embraces technology and creates open and collaborative environments where knowledge and creativity can be shared – our design aims to showcase the best of Scottish construction technology and engineering, demonstrating new technologies and methodologies. How is technology affecting the work that you do? We are always expanding our knowledge of BIM and innovative technology to enhance our design process. The ability to have fully co-ordinated models allows for enhanced collaboration throughout all disciplines which is highly beneficial. Within our studios we also see where technology can limit the design process – we actively take regular time away from our screens to have design reviews giving the ability to hand draw over plans and sketch ideas in a collaborative environment to ensure the best design quality. While technology improves I think it will always be necessary to sketch and develop designs away from our computers.
MLA Interiors Team How has the interiors sector evolved in recent years? Interior design at MLA has evolved from being an ‘additional service’ to emerging as one of our major business strengths. Building design within the interiors sector has generally become more holistic. Clients increasingly care more about how their buildings perform spatially, environmentally and functionally. For MLA, this means exploring how buildings and spaces are and will be used. We engage with users to understand their organisation, processes, and culture which ensures that our design solutions are not only beautiful but fit for purpose. Our Interior projects successfully deliver real measurable value for clients – improving productivity, creating more efficient and effective spaces, effortlessly supporting change, flexibility and ultimately enhancing the wellbeing of building users. URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
The MLA interiors team speak with one voice when it comes to the need to sketch and develop design ideas away from the computer
What project best encapsulates the work and ethos of your practice? We have just completed the second of two major fitout projects for KPMG. Their new Edinburgh HQ in Saltire Court is now complete after the BCO Award winning space for their Glasgow team at St Vincent Plaza completed in 2016. Both projects were hard fought competitive bids with design aspirations set very high. In every other way, however, both projects were polar opposites – a largescale, fast-track, new-build in Glasgow compared to the more intimate scale in Edinburgh of a slower, phased refurbishment (whilst in occupation). With an exciting client team who challenged us to excel at every turn, the team here at MLA remained creative, flexible and committed throughout. With constant staff engagement and ideas exploration we firmly believe that the unique ‘personality’ of each project was found something we believe is crucial in every project. Both projects have been a huge success and warmly received by staff, visitors and clients alike. >
© JULIAN FRANKLIN
3DReid’s entrance reception to the Hotel Indigo Manchester is a stunning open atrium space
Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh Winner of RICS 2015 award for “Best Building” Winner of RICS Award 2015 for “Britain’s Best Development” Winner of RICS 2015 award for “Best Regeneration” Winner of RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award 2014 Winner of RIAS Award 2014 Winner – Scottish Design Award 2014 – Regeneration Category Winner of Development of the Year (Commercial Buildings) at the Scottish Property Awards 2014 Highly Commended in City Regeneration Project of the Year Category at the Scottish Property Awards 2014 Commendation at the Saltire Society’s Awards for Civil Engineering 2013 for Structural Design & Conservation
Structural Engineering with care Realise what’s possible with our City Regeneration and CARE registered conservation service Will Rudd Davidson Consulting Civil & Structural Engineers www.ruddconsult.com
Record-breaking Growth of over 37% in 2018 NorDan UK looks back on its most successful financial year yet – with a 37% growth in 2018. The UK arm of the Norwegian timber windows and doors manufacturer achieved an increase in turnover from £32.5m in 2017 to an astonishing £44.6m in 2018.
“Even by our standards, this growth is extraordinary. It is the result of major special projects, loyal partnerships and of course a lot of hard work by our dedicated team across the UK, whom we continue to invest in heavily,” says Managing Director, Alex Brown. NorDan has seen significant growth in key markets in both Scotland and England. In Scotland, a combination of loyal customers and new developments add real value to the growth story. In England, NorDan secured several major projects in London, including the largest single order in history for Brunel Street Works in the Silvertown area. At the same time, an increased presence in the England North area: Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Birmingham has paid off in the number of orders taken along with new relationships being built each day. As the company gear up for a busy 2019, having already secured a number of key projects within the first quarter, NorDan pause only momentarily to acknowledge the success, it’s very much back to business as the business aims to set their sights even higher for the year ahead.
How is technology affecting the work that you do? Technology is allowing us to work more collaboratively and effectively with our clients and consultants across the globe. We are currently working with LA based experiential designers, BRC imagination arts, on a number of visitor centre experiences for Diageo. Weekly team meetings are easy over a zoom video conference as you can share screens, mark up drawings in realtime and show finishes samples over video. Quick day to day design conversations on a WhatsApp group chat allow us to be creative by sharing inspiration and ideas, without getting too caught up in the detail. Using Revit from the start of the project allows us to produce drawings far more effectively, whether itâ€™s 3d rendered drawings for planning or production drawings for construction. Having a fully interactive model allows continuous exploration of 3d ideas and concepts. Our Edinburgh and Glasgow teams work closely together on projects all the time and we use Microsoft teams to aid this communication and to connect us daily.
Scott Torrance Head of Interiors 3DReid What design trend excites you most in 2019? Big bold plants! We are currently working on a project for a hotel and the client is very keen on bringing the outdoors in. We are achieving this by having glazed walkways which are reminiscent of the greenhouses found throughout their estate. They intend to grow olive trees, climbers, flowers and even tomatoes. This will smell fantastic and give the guests a great experience as they wander through these spaces. We are also including large scale plants within the double height reception area to create a memorable first impression as you enter the hotel. What are your growth priorities for the year ahead? We have been steadily growing our interior design offer in the last year and recruited new designers in the months leading up to Christmas. There are still many opportunities available particularly in the hotel sector of the business in our local area, and we are also seeing new opportunities arise in the residential sector. We hope to secure projects in this sector which allows us to expand our team even further and branch into new sectors of interior design. What project best encapsulates the work and ethos of your practice? The Hotel Indigo Manchester is a prime example of what we do as a creative design business when both the architectural and interior designers are involved. We provide a combined approach to both areas of the design and with the interior
The Great Gallery by Mosaic echoes the practices timeless approach to design
designers and architects working together at the inception of the building we can solve many of the problems that can arise when design disciplines from different companies are involved. Working like this we design the building from the inside out, ensuring internal spaces perform for the client in terms of their business and operational needs. Ideas such as retaining the charm of the reception atrium space and adding in the feature basket lights, started as a discussion on what we were going to do with the redundant doors & windows that peppered those walls! Discussions were had on whether these should be removed as ultimately they led nowhere. We thought this was a great talking point for guests as they entered the building, so they were retained and have become a great feature of the atrium space.
Siobhan Murray Interior Designer Mosaic Architecture + Design What design trend excites you most in 2019? At Mosaic we try not to be too trend focused; our historic building work and bar interiors showcase our more >
timeless approach. Having said that, the emerging colourful minimalist style is a very refreshing departure from the industrial look that has become, in my opinion, over used. Personally, we love using colour and “pop” in interiors, it is not something we shy away from and we look forward to exploring in 2019.
How is technology affecting the work that you do? Advancing technology is changing the creative process, the speed at which we design and the quality of the end product. 3D modelling aids us in presenting the clients with creative ideas that are tangible. The end product can be showcased in visuals almost identical to the finished piece. On the other hand, designs are becoming saturated at an accelerated pace due to sites like Pinterest and Instagram. We are being exposed to the same creative imagery as our clients and have to counter balance that. At Mosaic we look to a variety of mediums for inspiration to ensure our designs stay relevant and distinguished.
Avril Cranston Director Ingram Architecture & Design What design trend excites you most in 2019? I am really interested in Wellness and Biophilic Design, particularly in the working environment. It has been proven in many studies that a link to nature, whether direct or indirect has a dramatically positive effect on productivity, happiness and creativity in the workplace. We have completed a number of projects where we looked at incorporating soft landscaping, planting, tactile natural materials such as stone and wood and well designed break out areas. They have proven very successful and have led to us being asked to look at other projects. We are very keen on landscape architecture, the urban realm and their integral relationship with the architecture and interior of a building. URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
© KRIS KESIAK
What project best encapsulates the work and ethos of your practice? The Great Gallery in Pall Mall – one of our projects for The Royal Automobile Club – showcases the practices work ethos really well. The Grade A listed interior had taken on a fair bit of wear and tear over the years. The brief was 3 fold: a soft touch refurbishment enhancing the grandeur of the period interior. An overhaul of the rooms lighting design & the careful restoration of period plasterworks, frescos and chandeliers. Finally, we added contemporary elements while remaining sympathetic to period features and worked closely with specialist craftsman to produce bespoke furniture, lights and fabrics.
How has the interiors sector evolved in recent years? The interiors sector has always covered a wide ranging description of work and we have seen this expand even further to become an important part of almost every project. Our clients no longer see it as an add-on to be dispensed with at the value-engineering stage but an integral part of the process that informs the space from concept design onwards. Architects can be guilty of addressing the building fabric in isolation leaving the interior to someone else. We have a much more holistic approach integrating interior elements, finishes, colours, furniture, textures and lighting at the same time as the fundamental building concepts. What are the biggest challenges you face? The biggest challenge we see ahead of us is our relationship with Europe. Depending on the outcome with Brexit the availability and cost of materials and products could suffer substantially. We are already seeing clauses inserted into tender returns allowing contractors to increase prices if Brexit has an impact on materials. Our suppliers of Spanish and Italian building materials and furniture have already advised of time delays and cost increases. We live in uncertain times.
Left - Ingram Architecture & Design are able to adopt a holistic approach to their work Right - Scott Brownrigg employ a dedicated team responsible for workplace strategy
Alex Donaldson Director Scott Brownrigg How is technology affecting the work that you do? Our interior design offering now comprises of a team dedicated to workplace strategy. The Design Strategy Unit focuses on using technology for the advancement of our clients’ businesses. The way that we engage with our clients has been transformed by this digital technology. We are now able to engage with tens of thousands of our clients’ employees in all corners of the world within very short timespans. This enables us to help our global corporate clients build trusting relationships with their employees and design effective working environments based on the occupants true needs. What are your growth priorities for the year ahead? Our interiors team work cross-sector providing commercial, residential, hospitality, civic and cultural and education interiors. Our strategy is to continue to develop our global presence, and diversify into new markets.
Over the next 12 months we aim to build upon the exciting work that is being completed in these sectors which includes the Hard Rock Hotel London, the first Hard Rock Hotel in the UK, Thomson Reuters Canary Wharf and Expedia in multiple global locations. Our future is dependent on our willingness to adapt and embrace new technologies. Design Strategy Unit uses behavioural science, special analysis and focussed benchmarking to help inform a client’s strategy, brief and space requirements. What project best encapsulates the work and ethos of your practice? Hard Rock Hotel London exemplifies the types of clients we like to work with, the collaborative design approach we like to initiate, and the types of bold design we thrive in creating. This adventurous client, likes to explore new business areas and push the boundaries of high end design. As a result of this we have created an interiors that delivers on impact and guest experience. Creating a design narrative that expresses the clients’ aspirations and ensures users can live and breathe the Hard Rock Brand.
45 West Nile Street Glasgow G1 2PT Tel: 0345 271 6350 Email: glasgow@3DReid.com 36 North Castle Street Edinburgh EH2 3BN Tel: 0345 271 6300 Email: edinburgh@3DReid.com Email: scott.torrance@3DReid.com Web: www.3DReid.com Twitter: @3_D_Reid 3DReid is a creative design studio specialising in the design and delivery of complex new build and refurbishment projects throughout the UK. Our interiors team work across all major sectors designing 3, 4 & 5-star hotels, bars and restaurants, hospitality lounges, residential including student residences, leisure, retail and workplace environments. We believe our experience working across sectors has given us expertise and insight to understand client’s aspirations for the design of interiors, products and finishes. Our success and the quality of our projects relies on our people. Our creative team demonstrate a high level of experience and we encourage our team to move across our studios, work with different colleagues on a range of projects and share knowledge, resources and ideas. We believe this improves our skills and expertise and enriches the work we produce for our clients. Above all we enjoy the process of designing exemplary interior environments. Sectors: Community-use, Civic & Cultural, Education & Healthcare, F&B, Hospitality & Leisure, Hotels, Offices, Residential, Restaurants & Bars, Retail, Workplace. Services: Architectural Design Interior Design Design Strategy Engagement & Brief Building Environmental Branding FF&E Specification Product and Service Design Space Planning 3D Visualisation URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station Client: BH Group Hotel Indigo Manchester embraces a fusion of two very different types of building – the historic existing Grade II City Buildings connected at each level to the new build 14 storey extension. The interior design sought to connect these two buildings by neither being traditional nor contemporary and there is a seamless flow between them. The interior is indigenous to the local area with references to the Northern Quarter and Manchester’s Victorian and Industrial past. The entrance reception is a stunning open atrium space filled with natural light and highlights the restored Victorian brickwork. The space has been enhanced with feature lighting and bespoke fixtures and fittings to create an impact for guests upon arrival. The reception lobby features a flexible lounge space for guests and business users. The materials used run throughout the hotel, timber floors, aged leathers, industrial style feature lighting and tiled finishes. The guestrooms pay homage to Manchester’s past; Manchester’s cotton mill heritage is referenced in The Press Rooms, The Arkwright rooms draw from Manchester’s literary and printing past and The Tea Rooms reference Mancunians love of tea. Mamucium, 120-cover restaurant and bar operated by awardwinning chef Andrew Green, sits within the new building so seeks to combine the traditional materials of the old building and fusing it with the modern architecture of the interior.
Ailsa Court 121 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 2SD Tel: 0141 226 8320 Email: email@example.com Web: www.hlmarchitects.com Twitter: @HLMArchitects
Top left and right: Powell Hall Bottom left: Whitehorn Hall ÂŠDavid Barbour Photography
Whitehorn Hall & Powell Hall, St Andrews Whitehorn Hall and Powell Hall are two new gap site student accommodation buildings which were opened in 2018 for The University of St Andrews and CLV. The brief was to provide 400 new bedroom spaces across two sites as part of the largest expansion of student accommodation in St Andrews for over a decade. Each building has a signature look and feel that ties the new accommodation to the existing buildings by making reference to style and materiality. For the first time, the University were challenged to explore alternative finishes to what has traditionally been used on campus. The overall colour concept for social areas, informal and quiet zones varies to reflect the different use of the spaces and is distinct to each building. Colours are livelier where social activities take place and calmer where concentrated learning is wanted. A good balance of social, informal and formal spaces has been created within the new halls to provide students with plenty of choice. Diverse seating and working areas are provided to social learning areas where students can informally socialise and relax but also study within a vibrant environment.
Thoughtful design and the desire to make spaces and places that improve lives sits at the heart of every discipline within HLM. Places of education that inspire, healthcare environments that nurture, homes that are part of thriving communities, and infrastructure that is sustainable in its widest sense: environmentally, economically and socially. We listen to the ambitions of our clients and understand the needs of the people who will use the places and spaces we create. By encouraging an environment of openness, enjoyment and creativity â€“ and with our feet firmly on the ground â€“ we can create memorable, meaningful places that delight as well as satisfy. Services Architecture Design Interior Design Landscape and Urban Design Environmental Design Masterplanning
227 Ingram Street, Glasgow G1 1DA Tel: 0141 221 5191 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.ingramarchitecture.co.uk Twitter: IngramArch Principal Contacts: Stephen Govan, Director Avril Cranston, Director Ingram Architecture & Design is a commercial architectural practice based in Glasgow, operating throughout the UK. We work on a diverse range of interesting projects and have a wealth of experience across a variety of sectors including Office, Retail, Leisure, Residential, Hotel, Industrial and mixed-use. Design and Delivery are core to our beliefs. We are committed to creating the highest standard of design whilst ensuring projects achieve the very best possible commercial solution. We are passionate about what we do and provide a service that is efficient and creative within an atmosphere of honesty, integrity, knowledge and professionalism. Services: Full architectural service, including interior design, concept design, feasibility studies, construction project management, design architect, contract administration and conservation consultancy.
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ÂŠ MCATEER PHOTOGRAPHY
Atlantic Quay, Broomielaw, Glasgow Client: Resonance Capital Atlantic Quay (AQ) is an office complex consisting of various buildings, located on the Broomielaw in Glasgow. Originally opened in 1993, it came under new ownership in 2016, with 2 of the buildings, AQ1 & AQ3 being comprehensively refurbished during 2017/18. The brief was to create high-quality, refurbished buildings, which could compete with new city centre office developments. Ingram Architecture & Design were appointed at an early stage and were able to provide strategic advice on how to approach the design, allocating the budget appropriately for maximum impact. The reception areas were completely transformed, bringing together a coordinated palette of materials which were then reflected throughout the common areas: cool, calm porcelain tiles, dark timber wall panels and illuminated ceilings. The dated decorative ceilings, lighting and balustrading were all removed and replaced with clean, simple lines as a backdrop to new casual seating and tenant facilities.
5 Forres Street, Edinburgh EH3 6DE Tel: 0131 226 6991 Email: email@example.com 83a Candleriggs, Glasgow G1 1LF Tel: 0141 255 0222 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.michaellaird.co.uk Twitter: @MLA_Ltd We are passionate and committed to creating spaces that connect people in simple, intuitive ways. We use our creative approach to deliver pragmatic, effective and commercially-astute buildings, transforming places to make them better to live, work and play in. As multi-award-winning architects and interior designers we take pride in the spaces we design to make them really work. We care about delivering a premium service on time and on budget, which means you can get on with enjoying a building that delivers what you need. Services: • Architectural Design • Interior Design • Workplace Strategy & Planning • Masterplanning & Urban Design
KPMG, Saltire Court, Castle Terrace, Edinburgh Client: KPMG “Our objective was to create a space that enhances our client interactions and helps us to collaborate, innovate and excel.” Catherine Burnet, Scottish Regional Chair, KPMG The project sought to bring KPMG Edinburgh in line with standards at KPMG Glasgow yet also embrace the differences between the two cities. KPMG’s design philosophy reflects their brand values yet they “resist the temptation to build blue print offices.” UK KPMG offices provided a benchmark but it was paramount that one solution shouldn’t be forced to fit. Staff steering group workshops in Edinburgh determined the space should be flexible, collaborative, desirable, values-basedand inspire a culture-shift. The design takes cues from the dramatic townscape of Edinburgh – a city of contrasts - from the organic, enclosed Old Town to the planned elegance of the New Town. And an invisible layer of connectivity dubbed the Future Town. Edinburgh’s textured and uneven streets and spectacular castle rock are steeped in history. As the city flourished in the 18th century a new side to Edinburgh was expressed by the smooth rhythms and regularity of the New Town. Today Edinburgh is a connected, modern city with commerce spanning from tourism to financial services. KPMG’s Edinburgh office is inspired by the city’s past, present and future.
INTERIOR REPORT 18/03/2019
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3rd Floor 226 West George Street Glasgow G2 2PQ Tel: 0141 554 6977 Web: www.mosaic-ad.com Email: email@example.com Instagram: mosaicgla Twitter: @mosaicGLA https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?pc=topnav-about-en#inbox/WhctKJVJkvXWhlwQThknxBqpBzfhfgSvDVhwtPCZKVzWhmQhvdcdlgKBDsmNPxj…
Mosaic Architecture + Design is one of Scotland’s most experienced practices, the directors of which have been responsible for a comprehensive range of buildings and projects for a variety of clients, in both the private and public sectors. We provide a range consultancy services which include architecture, master planning, interior design, and sustainability. In addition, we also provide site finding, feasibility appraisals, CAD visualisation, and construction management services. Located in Glasgow, the practice works with clients across a wide sector of the property industry including workplace, master planning, hotel and leisure, interior design, education, community, retail, industrial, residential and private clients. Services Architecture Interior Design Master Planning
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ALL PHOTOGRAPHY © RUSK & RUSK
SoLa, Glasgow Mosaic Architecture + Design has completed a £1 million design project for the Glasgow city centre restaurant. Perhaps its most stylish and ambitious yet, the project So L.A. at 43 Mitchell Street is the fourth restaurant, bar and events space interior design for RUSK & RUSK to date. The work follows Mosaic’s design for Hutcheson’s City Grill, The 158 Club Lounge and The Spanish Butcher. With a brief to design and deliver the interior for a new restaurant, bar and events concept inspired by Pacific Rim fusion and the Los Angeles dining scene, So L.A.’s layout takes inspiration from classic American mid-century diners with oversized curved booths and retro lines, while the muted material palate of concrete, aged woods, leathers and blackened steel – rivets and bolts included – owes much to America’s ‘steel made’ industrial heritage. Joinery, glazed screens, decorative lights, personalised handstamped LA door handles, kick and push plates are bespoke designed by Mosaic resulting in a striking architectural interior. Beneath the bar and restaurant, guests will find The Whitebox. Concrete, steel and aged wood are again prevalent, while the walls are formed almost entirely of blockwork, lending a club-like feel to the Basement space.
3rd Floor, 7 Castle Street Edinburgh EH2 3AH Tel: + 44 (0) 131 202 3133 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.scottbrownrigg.com Twitter:@ScottBrownrigg Contact: Alex Donaldson, Director We are a global design leader ranked in the UK Top 10 and within the Global Top 100 architectural practices. We have a Vision to transform the industry and enrich lives through the built environment to create a better world. We undertake projects across all major sectors from business space, education, residential and mixed use through to advanced technologies, hospitality, civic and cultural, transport and defence. We have studios across the UK in London, Edinburgh, Guildford and Cardiff and international studios in New York, Singapore and Amsterdam. These together with strategic alliances in the Middle East and Hong Kong enable us to serve our growing international client and project base. We live for opportunities to push ourselves, creatively, in business and as a team. Services: Interior Design Architecture Masterplanning and Urbanism Design Strategy Heritage Conservation Technical Advice
Quartermile 3, Edinburgh Client: Confidential Financial Client The refurbishment of floors 1-5 of the Quartermile 3 Building in Edinburgh totals 66,000 sq ft. Relocating to Quartermile 3 from a previous Edinburgh location, the brief for this confidential financial company was to create a modern, contemporary and elegant working environment for 800 employees. Level 5 comprises a meeting suite and deli cafeteria.
HOUSING CRISIS JOHN GLENDAY
MAS S E F F ECT AS BRITAIN STRUGGLES TO BUILD THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF HOMES IT REQUIRES WE SPEAK TO ARCHITECTS AND DESIGNERS WORKING ON THE FRONTLINE OF SOME OF THE COUNTRY’S BIGGEST HOUSEBUILDERS TO ESTABLISH WHAT IS BEING DONE AND WHAT THERE REMAINS TO DO, TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES.
Britain’s housebuilders hold the key to solving the housing crisis but often find themselves blamed for poor standards of design. Urban Realm caught up with the designers and architects serving on the frontline of some of the country’s biggest developers to find out how they are seeking to make a difference from within. Springfield Properties are behind several strategic masterplans which typically account for 2,500 homes apiece, plus schools and other facilities more regularly associated with a traditional village. Such schemes include Dundee Western Villages, Elgin South and (most recently) Durieshill in Stirling which will deliver 3,000 houses built around a community campus. Explaining his role in realising these visions group architectural director Mark Hamilton said: “I started with the intention not to come at it from a normal housebuilders approach but to do things differently in terms of our architecture and not be beaten down by the housebuilders building box mentality. They wanted someone with a strong architectural mindset and background to come at it from a different angle.” > URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Milverton Grange by Mactaggart & Mickel nestles within the Lower Whitecraigs conservation area of Giffnock
Left - Big challenges have led to big solutions with this square foot busting Bothwell build from CALA Right - The trick will come in applying high design ideals to properties on lower rungs of the housing ladder
Having worked in private practice with ZM Architecture until around seven years ago, not to mention a 12-year stint teaching architecture part-time at Strathclyde University Hamilton, is well placed to make good on these ideals but has he been able to put them into practice? Hamilton said: “Housebuilders and property developers have a requirement to get things built quickly so any ideas put forward generally get transferred to paper and then to reality in a relatively short space of time. Any good ideas are multiplied out and you could argue that it has more benefit to more people.” Hamilton contrasts the glacial pace of delivery at a project such as Govan’s Graving Docks, still inactive after seven years of design work, with the rapid turnaround of similarly scaled Springfield schemes but does this make it a volume builder? “I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a housebuilder where the primary focus is volume. Even the term housebuilding is not important to a lot of companies,” says Hamilton. “No disrespect to them as businesses but in a lot of cases, they just try to make money in different ways. Springfield is more than that and is genuinely trying to do something different.” URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
One area where Springfield is innovating is client customisation, where potential purchasers can discuss modifications to the base build instead of simply accepting an off the shelf solution. Hamilton said: “This could involve moving partitions or taking things down, it’s more than just being able to choose your own kitchens and worktops. If you ask someone what they want they will naturally focus on the interior, not a double height hall or glazed gable. There are lots of ideas which are not in the general public’s vocabulary. We tend to focus on shiny kitchens and bathrooms, the bling, but that’s the general population’s focus” Another criticism is the type of short-term thinking that can arise when selling houses for immediate profit. Hamilton said: “We do private and affordable housing and look at things in terms of longevity, not just us getting more money. We look at long-term aspects which help us win repeat business or a good piece of feedback.” Springfield specialises in unlocking difficult sites which may have been passed over by others, eschewing city centre glamour builds in favour of edge of town locations. Hamilton continued: “We tend to look at challenging sites where others have tried to get projects
to work, partly because ... after 2008 a lot of the industry and skills went elsewhere we have a lot of in-house including bricklayers, joiners and all the trades you need expertise from design through to build a house.That takes time to replace because a lot of to engineering. That means we can evaluate things very those people wont come back. quickly and look at innovative delivery methods. We’re not Hamilton to single out the single biggest contributory trying to make a portfolio of different house types fit factor to the delivery bottleneck, raising a finger at a site like Barratt and the Persimmon where every site planners for holding back or blocking attractive sites looks the same.” for development. Hamilton replied: “We bring forward Another developer seeking to make a difference proposals, in some cases supported by the council, which is Mactaggart & Mickel, currently locked in a legal are then difficult to get through planning not because battle with the Scottish government over a 600-home they’re challenging or difficult schemes but because development at Bridge of Allan. Architectural manager the planning system is there to place barriers in front of Chris McWilliams warns that the slow-moving consent developers which slows delivery. process is a recurring block to delivering new homes but “The other issue is after 2008 a lot of the industry also cites delays in the provision of utility connections and skills went elsewhere including bricklayers, joiners as an appreciable hindrance to delivery. He adds: “The and all the trades you need to build a house. That takes use of a standard product is not universally accepted by time to replace, because a lot of those people won’t all local authorities; therefore, various iterations of the come back and there’s not enough focus on apprentices. same house type must be developed to ensure we are Working on a cold and wet building site is not as complying with local planning requirements.” attractive as sitting on an iPad blogging.” Returning to Springfield Urban Realm asked Is Hamilton happy with the degree of freedom >
afforded to him and does he have the resources to budget for quality materials? What constraints remain? “Every site has to be viable whether we throw a lot of money at a house in terms of costly materials or larger design moves to make it more contemporary”, Hamilton notes. “Houses of a set size and scale for a given area are still benchmarked at a typical cost in relation to everything else around. “On the one hand yes, there’s freedom but on the other are the public’s expectations. Not everyone wants a flat roof or a glass box. In my experience, that might be 10% of the population but a typical portion of the population want a certain thing and sometimes that’s what they’re used to seeing or what their neighbours have or what they’re familiar with. “My role is trying to manage design aspirations while making it appeal enough to be successful for the business. I have got the ammunition to do that but it is within certain sensible parameters to make sure things still stack up. People tend to base what they want on what they’ve seen. We try to push that by saying well ‘what colour car do you want. Red or blue?’ In actual fact they want a black one, it’s just no one’s ever shown them
the possibilities before.” Despite the slow pace of change, Hamilton is optimistic for the future. He said: “Housebuilding by its nature is a slow-moving beast, construction methods don’t change overnight but lifestyles are changing. More people are considering how to relate their house to the garden, we’re finding a lot of demand for intermediate rooms like sunrooms which try to connect the two.” One notable trend has been a renaissance in affordable housing, growing available stock after years of council house sales. Working across both sectors Hamilton knows full well the impact tighter regulation can make: “Housing associations have always been at least one step ahead of the private sector to satisfy building regs. There have been grants to deliver to a higher standard than the base level, creating houses which are better in their fabric with better energy performance and space standards. They’re larger and there’s perhaps a bit more opportunity to be innovative on design.” Putting forward his own observations on how house buyer priorities are shifting McWilliams said: “A lot of house buyers understand the flexibility they have
Left to right - Springfield Properties adopt a more global approach by building entire new communities from scratch, such as this ‘supervillage’ near Stirling
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and how they can adapt or extend certain layouts and features of the house they’re going to buy. We are also seeing an increasing demand for new products and features such as ultrafast broadband, renewable technology and electric car charging points.” Such sentiments are shared by Stewart Milton, design manager for CALA Homes (West), who relayed his own experiences of evolving customer expectations: “At the moment, the housing market – in terms of what’s on offer more broadly – is a little repetitive, but consumer tastes are moving towards 21st century living, with a demand for natural light and a real feeling of space throughout a property. “There’s a real aspiration to stand out from the crowd as opposed to blending in, with elements of personalisation. There’s also a growing appreciation of contemporary design among the UK public who, thanks to television shows like Grand Designs – along with homebuilding magazines and websites – are waking up to realise the value of contemporary architecture.” While the going may be good for now there remains a concern that demographic changes and a construction industry that is stuck in its ways could be storing up
problems for the future. Is McWilliams confident that housebuilders have what it takes to effect genuine change? He said: “Housebuilding is the ‘reality’ of architecture, the home is where most people meet architecture - it affects us all. So, I think it’s important to respond to the demographics of your buyer, it’s essential that houses are designed with this in mind and that we produce good designs which build strong communities that have a positive impact on people’s lives. “Current Scottish building regulations cater for a variety of needs covering several demographics. For example, we produce and design homes with unobstructed disabled access and we can easily convert a ground floor room into a bedroom, depending on the house buyer’s needs.” With the scale of Britain’s housing crisis growing ever greater the need for a unified response grows with it. Bringing housebuilders on-side in efforts to raise design standards across construction is therefore vital if we are to overcome the ever-present pressure to do more with less. It is only by exploring all avenues available to us can we deliver the quantity and quality of homes needed for the future.
ISLAND GATEWAY IS FERRY, FERRY NICE A new ferry terminal, created as a tourism and community gateway to the Isle of Arran, has been fitted from stem to stern with products supplied by GEZE UK. The stunning development is part of a £30 million investment intended to upgrade the harbour, make it fit for 21st century travel and enhance passenger experience. The terminal, designed by Architects, Norr of Glasgow, is ship-shaped – following the traditional lines of a sea bearing vessel and is clad in sandstone. It proudly sits near the water’s edge and is filled with natural light that pours through a wall of windows fitted to the ‘stern’ of its west elevation which are operated by 30 GEZE Slimchain drives. They provide the light and spacious feel to the building’s main entrance which opens out into a reception area. The Slimchain drives a natural ventilation system facilitated by a GEZE MBZ 300 two-zone control panel, which is integrated into the terminal’s building management system (BMS). These have been placed throughout the two-storey building including in the departure lounge, alongside the GEZE Powerchain drives on the upper vents that
were chosen to operate the larger windows. The lounge benefits from a double-height room with stunning views across Brodick Bay. Stairwells were also fitted with Slimchain drives alongside GEZE OL Line manual opening systems to enable natural smoke and heat ventilation if required, and to give additional natural ventilation. Beneath the glazed western elevation are two automatic swing doors to either side. These are powered by GEZE Slimdrive EMD-F operators - electro-mechanical drives that are extremely versatile, providing easy access for those with mobility issues. They provide power assisted opening and can be initiated using the operating button with guaranteed constant opening and closing speed. At just 7cm high, the Slimdrive EMD-F operators are extremely discreet and sit neatly on the door frame. They offer a low-wear, hi-performance system which is exceptionally quiet in operation. A further Slimdrive EMD-f was fitted to one of the side elevations of the building. From the main entrance, accessed by its pass doors,
a glazed corridor leads to a bi-parting sliding door powered by a GEZE Slimdrive SL NT operator, which leads into the foyer of the main reception area. With a height of just 7cm – Slimdrive SL NTs are almost invisible, virtually silent in operation and can move leaf weights of up to 125kg. They are ideal for buildings with high levels of footfall and a continuous flow of people heading in and out of the building. GEZE UK worked closely with CMS Enviro Systems which installed the products for the project. Asset owners – Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) – together with Transport Scotland, North Ayrshire Council, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and the Coastal Communities Fund, invested to upgrade the facility. The previous infrastructure was constructed in the early 1970s and had reached the end of its serviceable life. The new facilities will accommodate growing numbers of car and passenger traffic travelling to the island.
The redevelopment includes a longer and deeper, two-berth pier and airport-style gangway – safer for passengers boarding and disembarking vessels. Land has been reclaimed to provide improved parking and traffic marshalling areas. The terminal itself incorporates 1328 sq metres of space and has capacity for 400 passengers. Andy Howland, GEZE UK’s director of sales and marketing, said: “This was a fascinating project with which to be involved. Many GEZE products were used throughout the build and much thought was given from the outset to making this an intelligent functional building geared up for the future, whilst embracing the natural environment in which it sits.” For more information about GEZE UK’s comprehensive range of automatic and manual door closers call 01543 443000 or visit www.geze.co.uk
GEZE UK, Blenheim Way, Fradley Park, Lichfield, WS13 8SY Tel: 01543 443000 Email: email@example.com Web: www.geze.co.uk
LIBERTON BARNS JOHN GLENDAY
HOUSING PRESSURES ARE FORCING EDINBURGH DEVELOPERS AND ARCHITECTS TO BECOME EVER MORE RERSOURCEFUL TO MEET DEMAND. URBAN REALM CAUGHT UP WITH LBA TO FIND OUT HOW THE PRACTICE HAS APPLIED ITS OWN FIELD WORK TO CREATE A BARNSTORMING RURAL RETREAT WHERE SPACE IS AT A PREMIUM. URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Previous page - The one off site marries proximity to the city with rural views Above - This unlikely unkempt barn provided the seed of inspiration for LBA
LBA with Glencairn Properties have mixed the best of rural and urban design in their latest partnership, a townhouse terrace in Edinburgh’s Liberton. The project reflects the sites past while looking to the future in specification and materials, utilising every square foot of available floor space on a highly constrained site. Liberton Barns makes the most of an unpromising former agricultural shed and steadings by providing three, fourbedroom properties; each enjoying open aspects across fields to the Royal Observatory and Liberton Tower. Situated alongside a B-listed farmhouse, converted during an earlier phase of work, the latest additions evoke memories of the previous buildings in their massing, form and materials – including the re-use of the original stone. Built using the Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) system to save time on site and create clean, clear lines,the development is encased in slatted timber cladding, which will mellow down from orange to silver grey with time. Each home prioritises privacy to the front by alternating solids and voids, a ‘hit and miss’ approach which serves to open up glimpses of light and movement within through slatted windows. Internally each four-bedroom home is arranged around a fully glazed external void courtyard which slices straight down from the roof to bring light and natural ventilation deep into the upside down plan where living areas are located on the first floor to benefit from the views. Vaulted ceilings lead to a partially covered external terrace and a frameless glass balustrade. Taking Urban Realm through this unique approach LBA managing director Lynsey Bell Manson said: “When you’re on-site it feels very rural even though you are literally in the city centre, the outlook is so agricultural and it was such a crisp lovely form that we didn’t want to lose that especially with the way the > URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Living spaces are located to the upper floor to maximise views
Left - Three dimensional space planning was required Right - A lightwell draws light deep inside
Spray tan timber will tone down with age
three houses slotted within the three roof pitches.” This hidden aspect of the location is reflected in the subtle larch louvres which provide some much-needed privacy for occupants, opening out with floor to ceiling glazing on the rear elevations. Explaining this introverted approach Manson continued: “You’re not fully aware of the view until you’re on the first floor open plan living space when the view reveals itself. Because it’s slatted timber what’s going on behind isn’t fully revealed but then you’re hit by all this glass and an amazing view.” A light and airy first floor contrasts with a more down to earth ground level where the original stone wall has been rebuilt, with new openings punched through where necessary to ensure the site stayed true to its original use as opposed to introducing something completely alien to the former farm. A key feature of the design is the use of internal courtyards to drive light deep into the interiors, increasing the amount of useable floor space on offer. Manson continued: “It was quite difficult to provide four bedrooms, the only way to get natural light in was to cut these courtyard cores out and bring natural ventilation to those rooms which open onto it. The views are from the upper floor so that really dictated where the living space goes. The boundary is right on the edge of the building so there were all kinds of issues to overcome in terms of glazing, that’s why the first floor is set back. “It’s worked well with all the bedrooms hidden behind a
heavier stone and the first floor spaces opening up with all the glazing overlooking adjacent fields through large voids. “The views are toward Blackford Hill rather than the car park. I think at night you will get little glimpses of what’s happening behind but we’ve tried to mask that side of the building and let the other side dominate in terms of outlook.” Stressing the communal aspects of life at Liberton Barns Manson points to the wealth of shared space on offer: “The site was so tight to fit garden spaces into we decided not to compromise by losing a bedroom or habitable space but just make a lovely communal garden and covered barbecue space. It’s not your typical house offering with a garage and a garden, it has internal private terraces and a communal barbecue and communal garden space. The purchasers are quite diverse, we thought it would be all young professionals. “It’s an interactive space. In the kitchen, you can open the doors on both sides, as you can in the bedrooms, so the whole glazed core opens out. If it’s raining and you’re cooking or had a dinner party you could have all those doors open to the outside, it’s a very indoor/outdoor space.” Proving that the best design often arises from the tightest constraints Liberton Barns stands apart from the ‘safe’ design approaches which often accompany a powerful heritage lobby. The result is an adventurous ensemble which has transformed an awkward forgotten space into something which stands apart from other developments of similar scale.
SAUCHIEHALL STREET SEAN KINNEAR
SAVE THE ABC GLASGOW’S SAUCHIEHALL STREET HAS BEEN THE EPICENTRE OF A SPATE OF RECENT FIRES BUT IN THE SHADOW OF THE SCHOOL OF ART IT IS ANOTHER ARCHITECTURAL LOSS WHICH IS NOW FOCUSSING MINDS. AS AN APPLICATION TO DEMOLISH THE ABC THREATENS TO FURTHER UNDERMINE THE STREETSCAPE SEAN KINNEAR LOOKS AT HOW THIS FAMOUS STREET CAN PAVE THE WAY FORWARD.
“Save the ABC” reads an earnest appeal, scrawled in black spray paint over the temporary site hoarding. On Friday the 15th of June last year, Glasgow was rocked to its core by a second catastrophic fire that tore through the Category A listed Mackintosh Building; devastating the historic monument undergoing restoration from the first blaze of 2014. Nine months on and the city is still reeling. While there has been plentiful debate over the future of the iconic Mac, we have almost completely forgotten about the other victims of that fateful night. Since the incident, the entire block bounded by Renfrew, Dalhousie, Sauchiehall and Scott Street has been under a safety cordon set by Glasgow City Council; in a bid to secure temporary bracing and shore up the heavily damaged structures. Businesses fronting the Sauchiehall Street elevation, including barbers, takeaways and entertainment venues, have been forcefully abandoned as a direct result of the fire and ensuing efforts to contain the inferno. Only now, in March > 2019, are we seeing a slight lifting of this barrier; albeit URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Businesses are still counting the cost of the fire nine months on
Glasgow’s City Avenues project is improving the public realm but the street frontage remains broken
on a limited scale to permit some vehicular traffic and pedestrian circulation. With a maelstrom of activity surrounding the future of The Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building, the neighbouring Category C listed ‘02 ABC’ has sat still; appearing to bide its time. However, this silence was abruptly broken in February 2019 when it emerged an application had been submitted to demolish the damaged building in its entirety. This sucker punch is the latest body blow to our historic built environment, but if Glasgow is famous for one thing, it’s rallying the troops in defiance! The list of objections to these brutal demolition proposals are growing at a steady pace through the council’s online planning portal. A resounding picture is quickly emerging of how important the building’s cultural significance is to a diverse demographic; sharing collective memories and re-iterating notions of local and national heritage. Akin to these fond tales, I too have enjoyed memorable nights in the 02 ABC, but after the recent news surrounding its uncertain future, I can only hope these reminisced stories are not reduced to folklore. My experience with the building now is one of URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
dereliction and decay. On my route to frequent the GSA library atop Scott Street I regularly pass the 02 ABC on its western approach, in ritualistic fashion I peer through the metal security fence and catch a glimpse of the now exposed structure; hoping the dancefloors will witness the stamping feet of live music lovers once again. Most of the apertures have been boarded but there are still some snapshots offering a glimpse through the collapsed roofscape. ‘Campus’, another one of the forgotten victims of the fire, eerily displays a billboard promoting live showings of the 2018 FIFA World Cup like some twisted time capsule. In the wake of last year’s heart-breaking fire there has been a resurgent interest into the ABC’s past; drawing attention to the building’s long story stretching back to the 1800’s. It’s fascinating to learn of the diorama, panorama, skating rink, hippodrome, circus, dance hall and cinema that once resided on the Glasgow city block before coming to be a vibrant music venue in 2005. At street level it’s near impossible to read the building’s story through its architecture alone, but with the assistance of archives, historical maps and aerial views, you can begin to decipher the deeper, historically layered >
© SCOTLAND’S MOVING IMAGE ARCHIVE
Above - The former Regal Cinema in happier times
Below - The ABC has always evolved with the times but can it surmount this latest challenge?
© SCOTLAND’S MOVING IMAGE ARCHIVE
Left - Glaswegians flocked to the Regal, which had the capacity to seat 2,500 Right - Passions and frustratiions are rising at a loss of the city’s history
evolution of the ABC from its Within its interior, the Regal cinema boasted concealed early beginnings. lighting and excellentacoustic treatment, achieved through One of the more successful uses of the public its material finishes and state of the art sound system. entertainment hub prior to its music venue existence, stems back to its presence as McNair, the architect behind the cinema design, adapted an established cinema; enjoyed by many Glaswegians the building from its previous use as the Waldorf Palais who frequented the movies shown here for 70 years. De Dance. Part of the renovation included a reworking Photographs held by the Scottish Screen Archive (SSA) of the main façade fronting Sauchiehall Street. A portray crowds queued up and down Sauchiehall Street; fantastically preserved souvenir programme published patiently waiting to view the latest motion pictures, for The Regal’s grand opening, compares the new commonly known as “talkies” at the time. entrance to a cinema screen; describing how the movie The ABC (Associated British Cinemas) Regal first goers casted shadows onto the streetscape from behind opened its doors to the public in November 1929; offering the illuminated glazing as they circulated up and down an unprecedented cinematic experience to the city. The the levels of the building via the stairs and electric lifts. new picture house was finished to an extremely high Within its interior, the Regal cinema boasted concealed standard with the capacity to seat over 2500 movie lighting and excellent acoustic treatment; achieved goers within its auditorium, it was complimented with tea through its material finishes and state of the art sound rooms, lounges and a shop-window arcade. Charles J. system.
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The building underwent further expansion and by October 1967 opened its newest addition, the ABC 2; subsequently rebranding the original Regal cinema as ABC 1. Fronting Sauchiehall Street to the south and Dalhousie Street to the east, the extension was constructed in dark chocolate brickwork with vertical copper cladding. Once again this offered Glasgow the latest cinematic experience through its modern seating, ventilation design, and hi-tech projection technology. Although the building largely remained unchanged externally, from 1979 onwards there were numerous internal remodelling episodes and a series of name changes before the cinema complex showed its last screening in 1999. After years of extensive renovations, the doors were finally opened again in 2005. The former ABC cinema became known as the 02 ABC and quickly rooted itself as a prominent venue within Scotland’s music scene. Acts from around the globe would travel to Glasgow and play to loyal crowds of music lovers, who much like the movie goers of the cinema generation lined Sauchiehall Street. The 02 ABC is also cited as an invaluable contribution to Glasgow’s accolade as a recognised UNESCO city of Music; a mantel held since 2008. Unfortunately, Glasgow is no stranger to losing its listed building stock to fire damage. Furthermore, it’s alarming how many of these structures housing music venues have been struck down in recent years. ‘Victoria’s’, a mere stone’s throw east on Sauchiehall Street was also severely damaged by fire in March 2018. This popular nightclub resided within the Category B listed Crown Rooms, its uncertain fate also now hangs in the air. The former Elgin Place Congregational Church (Category A listed), on the corner junction of Bath/Pitt Street had also found re-use as the popular nightclubs commonly known as ‘Trash’ and ‘The Shack’. In November 2004 the building was gutted by fire and subsequently demolished by Christmas a mere month later. The empty site lay derelict for almost 10 years before a solution was reached. The 19th Century Greek Revival church was only recently replaced in 2017. A modern high-rise glazed and clad student accommodation block now stands in its place; towering above its neighbours. The evidence supplementing the 02 ABC’s demolition application presents a bleak picture. Like many other case studies of historic buildings at risk of demolition, I often read through a deluge of reports and photographs depicting the extent of structural damage. The reiterated statements of compromised integrity, coupled with notions that repair and salvaging are not economically viable, convey a very monochrome picture of a building’s predicament. URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
By extracting and isolating the damage incurred by fire, smoke, water and natural elements, key facts are dangerously omitted. The historical context; architectural character and irreplaceable collective memory to name a few, should all be considered alongside the engineering calculations. There is certainly no easy, quick or cheap solution with historic buildings at risk of demolition, but each case would benefit from being assessed on individual merits and holistic being; not simply reduced to a mathematical equation. History tells us the captivating story of a multifaceted building, constantly adapting to suit the needs of its users; forever providing entertainment to Glasgow, and continually utilising the latest technology in a bid to offer unforgettable and unparalleled experiences. Be that a diorama, panorama, skating rink, hippodrome, circus,
A C-listing may not be enough to save the ABC but work to remodel the street continues apace
dance hall, cinema or music ... complex buildings like the O2 ABC, drenched in local venue. history, should be given careful consideration before any Granted it has only rash decisions are made. been several weeks since the demolition application was submitted, but complex buildings like the 02 ABC; proposals advocating preservation and re-use that rightly drenched in local history and cultural heritage, should should be explored before reaching a final curtain call. be given careful consideration over their futures before The ‘Avenues’ programme, aimed at extending the urban any rash decisions are made. As well as the statutory realm through streetscape improvements, is currently protection extant with its Category C listing status, the taking form along Sauchiehall Street. Ironically, the initial building also lies within the Glasgow Central Conservation pilot scheme orchestrated by Glasgow City Council has Area; offering further shelter against a total demolition. recently completed sections of the groundworks fronting Surely, we can’t allow the wrecking ball to be the first the safety cordon; offering symbolic connotations of viable option tabled, allowing the stage to be set for rebirth with newly planted trees and landscape paving. featuring another non-descript generic housing block or Time will tell of what the future holds for the 02 student accommodation unit to appear in its place? ABC, but voices of support for the stricken building are Amongst the public objections there are valid showing promise of an emphatic encore.
TENEMENT MAINTENANCE John Gilbert
The scottish tenement is an integral part of the urban landscape north of the border with these iconic stone buildings forming the dense centre of almost every town, often with shops forming the ground floor. The tenement allows Scots to have good quality urban housing at a scale which works for local communities. It can also be energy efficient and adaptable. But tenement maintenance is a growing problem. A recent report from Glasgow City Council suggested that the final bill for repairing these buildings could be as much as £2.9 billion in Glasgow alone. In response, a Scottish Parliamentary Working Group has made proposals for a radical change in legislation that would pave the way for improvements. But why has this problem occurred? Unlike the position in England and Wales where people lease flats and are effectively long-term tenants, in Scotland people own flats outright. Tenement owners need to work with their other co-owners to carry out repairs - there is no head freeholder arranging repairs using regularly paid service charges to cover the cost of works. However, getting agreement to carry out a common repair is fraught with difficulties. The law requires a majority of owners to agree to work but owners often do not know even who their co-owners are, a situation that is getting increasingly common as private rented levels increase in flatted properties. Then a lack of a maintenance culture combined with increasing levels of low-income owner-occupation conspire against those owners seeking to do the right thing. A number of physical issues add to the increasing decay: URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
YEAR’S OF NEGLECT IN THE MAINTENANCE OF SCOTLAND’S TENEMENT HERITAGE HAVE COME TO A HEAD WITH A BACKLOG OF REPAIRS WHICH THREATEN TO SWAMP OWNERS AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES ALIKE. ARCHITECT JOHN GILBERT LOOK AT HOW WE CAME TO BE IN THIS SITUATION AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO KICKSTART MUCH NEEDED REPAIRS.
• Climate Change: in the last 30 years, Scotland’s winters have become increasingly wetter. Stone walls which are meant to dry out in between showers, are becoming saturated. The problem is exacerbated when overflowing gutters and downpipes focus water onto the face of the stone. Eventually this leads to the rotting of original timbers which are embedded into to external stone walls. Joist ends, timber Bressumer beams at oriels and bays and timber safe lintels above windows are all at risk. • Previous repair programmes: in the 1980s, grants of 90% were given to encourage tenement repairs. Although this saved many tenements, repairs to and repointing of stonework was carried out with cement and decayed stone was made to look good by being coated with a material called ‘linostone’. These repairs prevented the stone walls from drying out. Instead moisture was trapped within the stonework leading to frost attacking the stone and damaging it yet further. In addition, the high level of grant led to owners thinking that the Council would always be there to look after the common areas. • Georgian Edinburgh: Craigleith stone in the NewTown has held up very well and despite being older, has weathered better than stones in the West. This may be a result of material costs as feu’d developments often used a cheaper stone like Binny Sandstone which has not weathered so well. The other main risk in Edinburgh is secret and parapet gutters which are hidden from view. The double pitched wider tenements required a central valley. Overflow outlets are often blocked or inadequate is size to cope with heavy showers. >
Scotlandâ€™s signature housing stock is showing its age but a lack of unanimity is stymying renovation
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The fate of 127 Albert Road, Govanhill, illustrates what can happen when owners don’t face up to their responsibilities
• Victorian Construction: In Victorian Glasgow, “oriels” (bay windows springing from the first floor) were commonplace. To support these bays, cast iron plates were built into the walls to help restrain the bays and lintel joints and copings were often tied together with iron staples. Increasing wet weather has meant that these embedded iron and steel fixings are beginning to rust, damaging the stonework with cracks and movement. However the main problem is the lack of a legal structure with adequate teeth to require owners to maintain their property and enforce repairs where required. The Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on Maintenance of Tenements is developing proposals to put before Parliament to address this problem. The main changes proposed are: • Five Yearly Inspections: to make it compulsory for every tenement to have a full inspection every 5 years. This would be tied in to the Home Report that is required for the sale of a flat. The report would place defects in a range of categories from desirable to urgent and immediate. This would at least give owners the knowledge they need to know and plan for future repairs.
• Compulsory Owners Associations: A new style of Owners Association, a form of corporate body with a designated manager and with powers to sign contracts and represent all owners would be liable for acting on the owners behalf. • The Establishment of Sinking Funds: This has been described as a ‘pension for a tenement’ where each owner pays into a sinking fund which stays with the tenement and would be used to save for major repair works (not day to day or minor repairs). In the meantime, any owner wanting advice on organising common repairs, can use the website www.underoneroof.scot which is managed by Changeworks in Edinburgh. The website explains the steps owners need to implement when organising repairs, describes the stages step by step and provides technical advice on tenement repairs and maintenance. Across Scotland, there seem to be widespread support for bringing forward a competent legal structure to prevent the loss of a valuable asset that is a unique part of Scottish cultural life. >
Left - The fate of these oriel windows in Ibrox highlights the dangers of inaction over the long term Right - Gilbert has called for a new legal structure for tenement maintenenance to be put in place URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Top - Uncooperative owners can be a source of stress in and of itself for those trying to do the right thng Bottom - Ill advised cement repairs can trap moisture, accelerating the decay of stonework
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Euan Leitch Director Built Environment Forum Scotland Communio est mater rixarum – co-ownership is the mother of disputes. Were the Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on Tenement Maintenance to have a motto, this maxim from Roman Law could be it. Convened in March 2018 by Ben Macpherson MSP the working group is an informal grouping of cross party politicians and stakeholders with a declared interest in tenement maintenance. These stakeholders come from the fields of chartered surveying, building, property management, architecture and property law; with the agreed purpose of the working group to “consider and establish solutions to urge, assist and compel owners of tenement properties to maintain their property”. Built Environment Forum Scotland and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors share the secretariat function. There are 895,000 properties in Scotland that fall within the legal definition of a tenement – two or more flats divided horizontally and designed to be in more than two ownerships – 37% of the housing stock. While there is a default perception that problems in tenement maintenance apply to more traditional stone buildings of 8+ flats, our research revealed similar challenges in post-war housing schemes where right-toby has resulted in multiple, often non-resident, ownership; there is also increasing concern that owners of tenements with lifts are ill-prepared for imminent replacement costs. The necessity for improving the maintenance of tenement properties is established not just from the professional experience of the participants, or from MSPs’ constituency surgeries but by the Scottish Housing Condition Survey. The 2017 report estimates that 50% of properties have disrepair to critical elements, rising to 68% for buildings built before 1919. Recent investigations in Glasgow and Edinburgh put rates of disrepair even higher. Communally owned properties face particular challenges in undertaking preventative maintenance. The working group commissioned Professor Douglas Robertson’s report, Common Repair Provisions for MultiOwned Property: A Cause for Concern to give an overview of existing arrangements for tenement maintenance and ask, are the working? The report narrates the incremental approach that successive administrations have taken on the issue, with the nettle never being fully grasped. That said, the standards applied to social housing have made a substantive difference and housing associations now have the best maintained housing stock across all tenures. But even housing associations are facing challenges where they are not the majority owner in a tenement and some are now divesting themselves of properties because of this. To address these issues the working group published interim recommendations. These recommendations would statutorily require tenements to have: • owners associations • sinking funds (a pension pot for the building) • five yearly inspections (undertaken by a professional with indemnity insurance) The recommendations are interlinked, each dependant on the existence of the other two with the long term aim of forcing a culture change in ownership responsibilities. The informal
consultation closed in March and the response was heartening but robust. Broadly, consultation submissions are supportive of the interim recommendations in principle with a lot of commendation for addressing such a difficult and pressing issue, with calls from property owners and managers to be brave in the final recommendations. But respondents have significant questions on how the recommendations would be applied and enforced, how financially disadvantaged owners would be supported and how these actions might affect the property market. The issue of tenement repair sits amongst a number of connected agendas from climate change and fuel poverty to fire safety. A number of respondents reflected on this and on the higher standards of enforcement undertaken in North America and some European countries. The Hackitt Report makes recommendations about owner’s duties of responsibility for safety and maintenance in communally owned buildings and the benefits of a digital record which, while focused on buildings of above 10 storeys in England, should have lessons for Scotland. This in itself connects to wider agendas about access to data related to land and property ownership which are being currently debated. Registers of Scotland’s ScotLIS facility is something the working group are looking at as a potential repository for relevant property information. In our search for evidence on the need to address the complexities of communal building maintenance we have gathered many individual experiences, some of which have had a profound impact upon owner’s health. Sometimes it is from the physical housing condition but often from from the high levels of stress experienced due to uncooperative owners. It can therefore be somewhat galling to have building disrepair statistics referred to as ‘maybe just a leaking tap’. The Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on Tenement Maintenance is now identifying questions that have been raised from the consultation on how the three recommendations would function. There was general agreement at the most recent meeting that behaviour change arises primarily from legislative imposition – seatbelts and smoking are often referred to – but it was acknowledged that there will need to be support provided to meet any new requirements. This support could include advice and guidance, as well as financial assistance. The commitment of the Scottish National Party, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour, and Scottish Green Party members of the Scottish Parliament to the working group is key to any progress, it cannot be a one party issue. There is no quick fix and sustained pressure is required for success. It is often stated that 80% of the homes we will be occupying in 2050 are already built: maintaining, reusing and retrofitting our existing housing stock is one key way of reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint. Full details of the working group can be found on BEFS website www.befs.org.uk/policy-topics/buildingsmaintenance-2/
CITY URBANIST JOHN GLENDAY
GO I NG P LACES GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL’S NEWLY CREATED ROLE OF CITY URBANIST PROMISES TO BRING INDEPENDENT SCRUTINY TO BEAR ON NEW DEVELOPMENT BUT IS IT ENOUGH TO EFFECT REAL CHANGE? WE SPEAK TO PROF BRIAN EVANS ABOUT HIS PLANS TO RESHAPE PLACE AND DESIGN ACROSS THE CITY.
Glasgow’s new city urbanist is on a mission to rekindle interest city life but is his independent advocacy sufficient to forment real change? We speak to professor Brian Evans, the figurehead for a new urbanism, about his plans to reshape place and design, transforming perceptions of the city at home and abroad in the process. Evans’ appointment follows an invitation to selected practitioners of urban design, architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture and planning from city officials seeking to raise their game and become more competitive internationally in order to attract and retain footloose talent, businesses and visitors. As a professor in urbanism and landscape at Glasgow School of Art, not to mention a founding director of Architecture and Design Scotland as well as a founder of the Academy of Urbanism in London Evans brings a broad spectrum of skills to his £40k per year role, but architecture is not one of them. This is despite a manifesto pledge by the SNP-led council to appoint a city architect so why has this goal morphed in favour of an urbanist? Explaining the thinking behind this change of tack Evans told Urban Realm: “When the city started to think about the role of city architect they realised there was a broader range of issues which needed to be URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
looked at. An urbanist is concerned with design in the round. It’s about places and how we design responses to that. It’s not just physical responses.” The part-time position will see Evans serve as a bridge between the council, communities and developers in his independent role as a strategic adviser on place, design and the city for an initial three-year period. On the specific changes he hopes to enact Evans remains coy, refusing to play a numbers game or be drawn on specific projects. “I don’t believe in personalising with my ideas”, observes Evans. “I think that’s iconoclastic. British cities are structured like that. In the European context you have a directly elected mayor. Our systems work in a more matrix-oriented way. Someone like me has to interact with that, I will facilitate thinking about city urbanism.” Evans’ approach seeks to build on the city’s knowledge economy by fostering an environment which is attractive to footloose talent and industry in terms of housing availability, affordability and quality of life but Evans refuses to be drawn on goals or targets. He said: “Yes, people living in the city centre is a good thing but having a target for that isn’t. People choose quality of housing, affordability and quality of life. It’s about designed responses to those needs rather than > saying we must have another 200,000 of these. In my view
Govanâ€™s Water Row could extend a knowledge arc from Strathclyde University to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Left - Professor Brian Evans surveys his new domain Right - Capping the M8 motorway remains a pipedeam but City Deal cash may just make it a reality
cities like Glasgow and Dundee are no longer post-industrial, they are proto-knowledge cities. There has been a paradigm switch over the past 40 years. The spatial requirements of the industrial city are completely different to the knowledge city.” Evans speaks instead in broader terms about place and community, perhaps mindful of current austerity limiting the scope for headline grabbing initiatives. He said: “In the current climate where city budgets are under pressure it’s really interesting that Glasgow has been really creative and should be complimented for reaching out on the connectivity commission.” This commission is engaged in generating fresh ideas for making the city more ‘liveable and breathable’, qualities Evans is keen to embrace as part of his own open remit spanning the fields of place, design and the city. Evans remarked: “This is an independent position, it’s not embedded in the city. I’m not a member, officer or employee of the city. I’m a strategic adviser. I have no executive authority and don’t speak for the city, that’s the responsibility of the city leadership. URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
“I can speak about the city of Glasgow as opposed to Glasgow City Council. A lot of people don’t make that differentiation, but I think it’s interesting that in talking to me about the role the council make that distinction themselves.” One of his first roles will be to help oversee the establishment of a ‘place commission’, where stakeholders will be able to discuss ideas which can help shape the design of Glasgow as an international city, a metropolitan city and an everyday city – with emphasis on the latter in terms of the quality of life for residents, workers and other inhabitants. Evans said: “It is the everyday city which is the most important. It’s the city we put our hands on, experience and gives us quality of life. What residents, businesses and visitors all share. Glasgow has been successful in turning an internationally negative view into a positive reputation, it is no mean feat for no mean city to have done that. “To understand Glasgow you have to understand that it’s a metropolitan city. The way the boundary has been drawn around Glasgow is fortuitous because it’s been drawn around >
Evans will focus on delivering a new generation of places and spaces
Top Left - Motorists will lose their favoured status in the new Glasgow Top Right - Connectivity is the lynchpin behind many new initiatives to draw disadvantaged areas closer to the cityâ€™s beating commercial heart Bottom Left - Physical barriers such as the M8 motorway and River Clyde will be broken down Bottom Right - A 63m long cable-stayed swing bridge could connect Partick and Govan
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Above - Consultations have opened into plans for a Broomielaw River Park Below - The Broomielaw district is the second of nine regeneration areas to be brought forward by Austin:Smith-Lord and MVRDV
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The River Clyde could become the connecting tissue of Glasgow’s ‘geography of knowledge’
the Clyde Valley. That is the same as the strategic plan which has been worked on consistently since the second world war.” During a distinguished career Evans has spent time as an adviser to the United Nations, arming him with an outside perspective of how the city measures up in an international context, noting that official measures such as the city having a population of 620,000 simply do not reflect reality. Evans said: “When bodies like Centre for Cities or the European Union compare Glasgow with other cities the Glasgow they’re comparing is different to the Glasgow that is being compared within Scotland because down south the Department for Communities and Local Government defines the primary urban area as the productive capacity of a city is in terms of its people and businesses. In that context there are four or five Metropolitan cities, London obviously but Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool also. The only city in Scotland considered to be Metropolitan is Glasgow. With Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire you’re dealing with a city of 1.5m. The city region is 1.7m. That’s something I will be talking about because it affects movement and the way we all live our lives.” Citing Glasgow’s ‘geography of knowledge’ Evans enthuses about a hi-tech arc sweeping across the city
from the Queen Elizabeth hospital in the south and the University of Glasgow in the west to the School of Art and Royal Conservatoire in the city centre. Pushing further east this ribbon of learning reaches Glasgow Caledonian University and the City of Glasgow College before finally terminating at Strathclyde University. Excited, Evans said: “There are 120,000 students there and in the middle of it all at Blythswood you’ve got one of the top concentrations of business services in the country. That’s formidable.” If there is one challenge Evans relishes above all it is overturning decades old accepted wisdom in roads engineering, which has hit Glasgow harder than most. “I’ve always found road engineers are doing a job but they’re hidebound by national regulations, like Design Bulletin 32 – where are the other 31?! I hope I’ll have the confidence to ask the daft laddie question ‘why do we do that?” With just three years and two days per week at his disposal it is clear Evans will have his hands full guiding Glasgow back toward the urbanism which once defined the city. By working with established organisations and systems Evans recognises that the best chance of seeding long-term success lies in a consensual rather than a confrontational approach in pursuit of common goals.
ABERDEEN MUSIC HALL JOHN GLENDAY
ABERDEEN MUSIC HALL SITS IN HARMONY WITH ITS SURROUNDINGS ONCE MORE FOLLOWING A MUCH-NEEDED OVERHAUL AT THE HANDS OF BDP. WE SOUND OUT THE TEAM BEHIND ITS DELIVERY AND ASSESS THE WIDER IMPLICATIONS FOR EFFORTS TO REJUVENATE UNION STREET. PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID BARBOUR
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ABERDEEN MUSIC HALL
Aberdeen’s Music Hall, situated in in the heart of the city in Union Street, has been tuned up at the hands of Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA), Kier Construction and BDP as the lynchpin of wider efforts to reinvigorate the ailing thoroughfare but is a £9m makeover sufficient to overcome deficiencies in a venue which had become unfit for modern audiences? Designed by local architect Archibald Simpson in 1822 as the Assembly Rooms, a private members club for the city’s upper crust, the A-listed venue was only converted to a concert hall in 1859 and had turned its back to the street throughout this period as a result. This fundamental issue posed the greatest challenge to a design team sandwiched between the competing desires of accessibility and heritage conservation. To see how this circle was squared Urban Realm paid a visit to see how an introverted space designed to keep the public out has now become an emblem of openness and accessibility. APA chief executive Jane Spiers has been the driving force behind these changes, having long been frustrated by a front portico that acted more like a barrier than an entrance. The resulting changes are significant but, in deference to the strict conservation remit of Historic Environment Scotland (HES), largely invisible. Indeed for harried shoppers scuttling past a compromised pavement sandwiched between steps and a bus stance the most immediate change is a gentle ramp offering step-free access. It is joined by a Sesame Access Lift, a highticket item that grants equal access to everyone, functional enhancements to which are added more flamboyant touches such as a video wall which animates the space in front of a retained alcove – again mandated by HES. Standing proudly in the centre of a now clearly defined reception hall, visitors are no longer greeted by an empty space. Spiers said: “One of the straplines for the development was ‘A new hall for a new generation.’ This is a special space within the city, it’s not just a concert hall, it’s a civic space. People who live here take real ownership of it, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody in the northeast who hasn’t got a story to tell about this building.” Addressing the fixed gaze of Queen Victoria, whose depiction in plaster takes centre stage once more, Spiers added: “We actually looked to take out the whole back wall but HES wouldn’t support it because of concerns about the niche. The proposal was to put in new lintels, but the wall was made out of rubble and bits of timber, there was no way it was going to take the load. Kier came up with the idea of inserting a series of steel needles into the wall to transfer the load. We could then take out the intermediate section of the wall and pour concrete. We ended up with a 900mm deep concrete lintel. We did say to HES we’d have to take it down and rebuild it in dry lining, but they insisted.” In addition to benefitting the public a cascade of circulation and layout improvements has also aided staff, who have been rescued from a series of dungeon-like windowless rooms now replaced by bright and airy offices at the front entrance URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
- creating a more secure environment while also opening up space. Spiers explained: “The external vestibule was a simple austere space with small doors in the corners, presumably to be manned by someone in uniform. It was an exclusive environment and ran completely contrary to the ambition to make the hall as open and permeable as possible.” This was the brief which was handed to project architect Bruce Kennedy, who faced the challenge of realising such goals within a relatively constrained budget in a building in which no-
Previous page - Attendances have risen by as much as 20% since the remodel Above - A dramatic video wall affirms that this is now a venue for the 21st century
one quite knew what they would uncover once construction began. Anderson said: “The initial brief was about addressing audience comfort, environmental concerns, operational improvements and accessibility. All the public spaces were incredibly congested in a series of discrete rooms. We’ve ended up with a scheme where all the public spaces are effectively accessed off the promenade. We opened up a new arch to create a direct link to the balcony and basement and a new door between the round room and the promenade. It looks
quite trivial, a simple door, but the engineering for that was quite complex. “While the clients were aware of their responsibility to the A-listed building it just wasn’t working for them with outdated facilities and lack of seating. It wasn’t about replacing services but delivering the functional brief. What we’ve done is reasonably sustainable by retaining everything except the electrical and lighting systems, which were life expired. If the front porch was where the hall’s problems began it >
ABERDEEN MUSIC HALL
Left - A gaudy 1980’s colour scheme has been stripped back, allowing the Strachan murals to take pride of place once more Right - A rationalised floorplan provides much needed additional gathering spaces
was not unfortunately where they ended, as Spiers revealed: “You would never build a concert hall today without a foyer for people to meet and mingle before a show. Previously we just had a hall where people queued. Now we’ve opened up the ground floor as a café and crush bar. You also wouldn’t build a concert hall with only one big auditorium. We’re limited in what we can do here but we’ve created two new studio spaces, so we now have somewhere for schools and the community to use. “At a time when people are shopping online and out of town, we’re part of a plan to find imaginative and creative ways to bring people back into the city centre. It’s much more of a 24/7 building and there are many more reasons to come here whether that’s for lunch, workshopping or music sessions. We have an exhibition and digital art space as well.” One of the biggest challenges faced by the Music Hall came in undoing many questionable design choices dating from a prior 1980s ‘refurbishment’ which saw pillars painted marble, gaudy patterned wallpaper and overbearing plate brass chandeliers. Consigning these interventions to history Spiers continued: “Our approach was where we can restore we will but where we need to make a new intervention we will do something that is quality, with a bit of a wow factor and is in URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
keeping with how it might have been in the 1800s, Not some pastiche of what people think it was.” Sadly, the budget would not stretch to undoing all of these mistakes, most egregiously a former ballroom demolished in the eighties to allow new rooftop plant to be installed. Without the means to return the room to its former glory, it was decided to settle with what they had, transforming the space into an open plan café and crush bar. Kennedy said: “We looked early on at restoring the two-storey volume as a studio space, but we very quickly realised that the budget was not going to support taking the plant out. The construction cost estimate when we originally tendered was £4.5m, based on fundraising estimates by APA. It grew fairly quickly because to achieve the brief we did need to take the toilets out and free up space and the only real option was to move them down to the basement.” This reorganisation has had the knock-on effect of freeing up two adjacent rooms serving as a dedicated restaurant and studio space, the latter with direct access to the backstage and a custom acoustic treatment.Unfortunately, large recurrent plaster cracks have proven trickier to banish. Speirs commented: “We’ve had to fix the plaster cracking four times and now we’ve just come to accept that we’ll have to leave it to the end of the defects period.”
These changes, while significant, are like the tip of a far bigger iceberg with the bulk of the effort taking place below ground, a complex process which entailed lifting the entire auditorium floor, digging down and replacing. Revisiting this mammoth operation Anderson recalled: “There was a lot of hidden structural work needed in order to deliver discreet benefits. There is a lot of rubble upfill, an aqueduct on Union Street and the area it sits on used to be significantly lower. The hall was built on loose rubble fill without any foundations at all. Once you start digging it can cause problems. “There was already an existing basement under the concert hall which we could enlarge and the advantage of that was we could excavate well away from the perimeter walls. We found out there were no foundations underneath some of the 4ft thick granite walls. To avoid underpinning those, which is technically difficult and also quite dangerous, we pulled the basement in.” Tucking services out of sight in the bowels of the build has freed up prime ground floor space, centred on the main auditorium. Spiers added: “The colours in here were unbelievable, we had lime green wallpaper and stripes/ stencilling across the ceiling. We stripped it all back to reveal the Strachan murals. It makes them feel right, whereas before
they were just part of an overbearing colour scheme. We even had wallpaper along the stage where we now have built panelling. We built it out slightly to give a slightly bigger stage but aesthetically it’s just so much better.” Key to the changes was ensuring that the hall sounds as good as it looks, maintaining the distinctive acoustics for which the hall has achieved renown. Speirs said: “We all tend to say that our hall has the best acoustics however composer Sir John Barbirolli said in the 1960s it had the finest acoustics of any hall that he’d heard. There’s a lovely warm and sharp sound here. There is a lot of pomposity around acoustics but if you go to a lot of concerts you do have an ear that is attuned to the sound. Some of it comes down to personal taste.” No mere museum piece the Music Hall must weather a great deal of wear and tear brought about by concertgoers, heavy goods vehicles and outsize equipment, happily exacerbated by a 20% jump in audience figures in the weeks since the hall reopened. These figures bode well for an ongoing city centre masterplan, also overseen by BDP, which sees Aberdeen seek to finally regain the initiative by realising long-held ambitions for Union Terrace Gardens, providing a point of unity around which the city can coalesce.
MARAYA JOHN GLENDAY
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URBAN REALM TRAVELLED TO MARAYA IN AL-ULA, SAUDI ARABIA, TO VIEW A NEW BREED OF CONCERT VENUE. CLAD ENTIRELY IN MIRRORS ACROSS TWO SIDES IT BRINGS A FRESH PERSPECTIVE TO THE UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE. WE REFLECT ON THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM A DAZZLING DESERT SHOWPIECE.
Left - Optical illusions abound around the shifting desert sands Right - The venue engages in a playful game of hide and seek amid golden Quweira sandstone cliffs
Rising from the sands of the Arabian desert a shimmering new temple of culture has appeared amid the dunes, promising to slake the thirst of travellers with a packed programme of cultural events throughout the Winter at Tantora festival. Coming ahead of David Chipperfield’s Edinburgh concert hall Al Maraya faces similar challenges in marrying cutting-edge acoustics and design within an area of exceptional beauty centred on the of Mada’in Saleh or ‘Hegra’, Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage site. These challenges presented a tricky foundation for its Italian designers who had to overcome extremes of climate and isolation to deliver a concert hall with a truly global appeal. Al Maraya, Arabic for mirrors, is a new concert venue situated in the desert town of Al-Ula, deep in the heart of a dramatic desert landscape which has been likened to a cross between Petra and the Grand Canyon. Conceived as an actual giant mirror that reflects these surroundings the concert hall stands as an exemplar for sustainable development in a region determined to establish itself as a global tourism destination, as mass tourism continues its remorseless advance through the world’s few remaining attractions that remain off the beaten track. Florian Boje, managing partner of architecture studio Gio URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Forma played a key role in making this happen, he told Urban Realm: “We were struggling because once you’re on site it is very difficult to say we should build something here. Our first reaction was we shouldn’t do anything, it is too beautiful. This gave us the idea to come up with a mirror which not only reflects light but serves as a place of cultural exchange. There is no present, just past and future, the reflections are so strong that we can still see them.” Cloaked from its surroundings the Al Maraya building stands as an extension of the surrounding landscape. Extending views of its gorge setting on two sides, the building takes the opposite approach to the likes of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum by establishing a building not to define Al-Ula internationally, but to be a hall defined by its locality, appearing almost like a mirage in the desert so unlikely is its appearance.” Split into three distinct elements Al Maraya takes the form of a ‘mirror cube’ alongside the main stage and adjoining ‘tent’ structure, all of which were created in a dizzying four months of activity following a decree by the Royal Commission to create a cultural event space and ‘destination’ theatre. Less architecture and more an example of land art the
concert hall ably rearranges the existing space, land and light to meet the creative brief with a minimal environmental footprint. As a result, the hall is not so much a theatre as a sculptural object. Akin to the polished mirror of a telescope, it is at once natural and alien, Boje commented: “The reflections become symmetrical. We are not used to seeing symmetrical things in nature and when you look at Al Maraya from the right angle you see a symmetrical reflection of the sky.” Deceptive in its simplicity this approach required careful consideration and modelling of light, views and orientation in advance to ensure the correct effect was achieved. Boje recalled: “On our first recce we did a lot of research to find the best reflections and see how we could continue the line of the landscape. We tried to enhance and augment existing nature so we took the sand dune and carved out the stage, exactly as the Nabataeans did, they carved their buildings from the surface of the sand. It’s not just reflecting the outside.” With a video exhibit by Cultural Spaces and ‘kinetic art’ by Leva-Todo this technology combines to create an audio-visual spectacle which helps draw the audience deeper into the landscape. Incorporating this digital projection technology as an intrinsic component of the main hall brings
new life to the desert, as Boje explained: “We carved the surfaces of the stage building out of the sand dune and on the back, we revealed the mountains. Every evening the kinetic LED screens open and reveal the nature which we project onto. From a technical point of view, it’s a very hightech theatre.” The biggest single challenge facing the designers was the desert environment, which required an equally extreme response. Explaining how the team helped mitigate temperatures which can rise to 50C in summer. Boje said: “The mirror actually has a self-regulating climate. We did a very complicated study with an Italian firm (Black Engineering) about how the mirror reflects heat. It’s completely flat and does not create heating zones so it is not a major issue. “To build something out there is complicated because you have got a long way to bring materials and the weather can rain very heavily. It’s an interesting issue of how to organise even simple matters such as sourcing paint.” Eschewing the golden Quweira sandstone, which is piled high across the landscape in gigantic outcrops of rock Each mirror takes the form of an aluminium and plastic sheath, a material which proved to be very easy to use. Combined >
Top - Key vistas double up at the intersection of hall and desert Bottom - The rock floor itself takes centrestage
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Top - The ephemeral hall contrasts with the unchanging rock landscape Bottom - Visitors have a ringside seat at the foot of the valley
with the simple structure, it is in essence a wall, the building takes on the appearance of an art installation as much as permanent architecture. Avowedly modern the hall stands as a conscious reflection of modernity too, illustrating how Al-Ula is not just about the past but also the future. In showing how new buildings needn’t overpower their surroundings it demonstrates the lost art of designing ‘wallpaper’ architecture which can flourish in the most unlikely of spots like desert flowers that appear after rain. Moreover, it shows that constraints can inspire and that one of the world’s best kept secrets can remain as one of its most beautiful places.
Agency: MMG | KSA Creative and Production management: Black Engineering Dwc-Llc Land Art, Set design and Architecture: Studio Gioforma, Milan Video Art: Bonsaininja, Italy Kinetic Art: Leva-Todo, Italy Video Exhibit: Cultural Spaces, Paris
MIDDLE EAST JAROMIR GASIOREK
WAR HAS BROUGHT INCALCULABLE HUMAN AND PHYSICAL LOSSES TO THE MIDDLE EAST BUT THE PROCESS OF REGENERATION IS ALREADY UNDERWAY. HERE JAROMIR GASIOREK, SENIOR ARCHITECT AT SMITH SCOTT MULLAN, DISCUSSES HOW CONSERVATION AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY EXPERTISE GLEANED AT HOME IN EDINBURGH, IS BEING APPLIED IN TURKEY TO HELP RESTORE AND PROTECT WHAT REMAINS OF THE REGIONS PRICELESS ARCHITECTURAL RECORD.
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This desert panorama highlights the scale of the conservation challenge in Mardin alone
Armed conflicts kill, destroy and destabilise. They target people, their culture, identity and heritage. The last five years have witnessed the destruction of ancient monuments in Syria and Iraq, including Palmyra - one of the oldest and best preserved cities in the world, blown up and looted by ISIL in 2015 - and many other significant monuments across the region. It is clear that local communities in all affected countries will need support to re-build themselves and to restore and protect whatever is left of their tangible and intangible heritage. In response, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the British Council launched the Cultural Protection Fund in 2016. It resembles UNESCO’s World Heritage in its ethos, but with an added emphasis on sustainable development. Turkey became one of several countries eligible for the Fund’s support due to instability caused by the proximity of the war in Syria. In 2017, a partnership between Edinburgh World Heritage (EWH) and Kültürel Mirası Koruma Derneği (KMKD) from Istanbul secured £1.3million of grant assistance from the Cultural Protection Fund for a capacity-building project in the region. The project is called KORU (“protect” in Turkish) and located in two of South East Anatolia’s cities – Mardin and Antakya. KORU
builds capacity in heritage management and conservation, and also brings considerable innovation. Its programme is focused on four pillars: • Surveying and documentation of buildings at risk • Community engagement, learning and training on building conservation and heritage management • Sustainability of historic sites • Safety in historic sites affected by conflict. Smith Scott Mullan Associates teamed up with EWH to address the challenges of the ‘sustainability of historic sites’ presented by a major component of the KORU project, the restoration of a traditional tenement in the historic core of Mardin. This ancient city is located on the vast plains of Mesopotamia, only 22km from the Syrian border, and hopes to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. In its four thousand years it has seen many periods of socio-economic turmoil and the historic core is currently depopulating as the historic housing stock does not meet the expectations of modern Turkish society. This is not a new phenomenon – a similar exodus was observed in Edinburgh’s Old Town in the 1950-60s >
Left - A global team has been assembled to bring to bear the best current thinking on energy efficient design Right - Gasiorek shows how historic structures can be modernised without erasing history
and is still happening on a massive scale in China. Residents of old Mardin prefer the comfort of the contemporary but characterless blocks of flats being built in the new part of the city, which resembles post-war development in the Soviet Union. The typical old stone houses, although charming, struggle to meet basic functional needs and are difficult to maintain. Heating in the cold desert winter and cooling in the extreme heat of summer can be very challenging due to both fuel poverty and technological flaws. The conflict in nearby Syria, which resulted in significant emigration to the European Union, has exacerbated the problems by affecting the tourism on which the local economy relies. The Tamirevi project, Turkish for Restoration Lab, is an ambitious attempt to awaken the imagination of practitioners and decision-makers by combining all of KORU’s pillars in an exemplar building restoration and a programme of engagement activities that open the project to the local community. Tamirevi was left by its owners under the care of the Museum of Mardin, which plays an unusual double role of local museum operator and enabler of heritage-led urban revitalisation. The refurbishment must not only meet the conservation standards of an aspiring World Heritage site but must also represent state-of-the-art energy efficiency design. This was KORU’s aspiration from the outset, but EWH found that energy design URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
expertise was not readily accessible in Turkey and so sought an experienced advisor in Scotland. Smith Scott Mullan Associates’ role, as Energy Efficiency Advisor, was to analyse the building construction and its siting in the context of local common practice and to make recommendations for improving energy efficiency. The final design, informed by Smith Scott Mullan Associates’ commentary, is currently being developed by KMKD’s and EWH’s architects. The challenge is to achieve the highest standards of energy efficiency while taking into account local conservation and statutory restrictions and the availability of materials, systems and skills. Sharing the knowledge obtained during this architectural experiment is one of the key objectives of the project and, on completion, Tamirevi will house an exhibition space where the results will be presented. It will be a creative learning space in the city as well as an excellent energy efficiency education hub for local residents. The use of the upper floor as an artist’s residence will ensure the financial sustainability of the project. Technical approach Tamirevi is a simple two-storey cubic stone house with a courtyard. It is separated from the street by a single-storey arcade opening onto the courtyard. The adjacent buildings are variations of the same typology, and together they form an
irregular terrace. The structures are embedded in the hill against caves carved from the bedrock which are traditionally used for storage. The entire city faces south with almost no soft landscaping or foliage and despite the buildings’ thermal mass, summer overheating is severe. One of the Turkish team described the house, during the summer months, as turning into an oven. To mitigate this, a folding canopy and the planting of a tree, providing shade to the south elevation, have been proposed. Similar planting throughout the old city would improve its microclimate through more comprehensive shading and evaporative cooling, but would have a profound effect on the city’s appearance. U-value improvements address summer overheating and winter heat loss. As in Scotland, insulation could readily be added to the roof and ground floor. Improving the external stone walls was more difficult due to the conservation restrictions and the only permitted intervention was to eliminate draughts by re-plastering the interior with a site-specific lime plaster specified by KMKD. The windows will be replaced with the locally-made double-glazed windows based on the original design, for which the Museum of Mardin’s workshop is currently producing a prototype. It will create a sustainable alternative not only for
Tamirevi but the rest of the city, while local carpenters will learn about new technology. In heavy autumn rainfall, the maze of lanes and stairs turns into rivers and waterfalls. The introduction of green or blue roofs was explored but proved to be impracticable, again, due to conservation constrains and the roof profile amid concerns around the appearance of the wider city landscape. The concept that good, energy-efficient design should use building physics to minimise or preferably design out M&E installations was the driving force behind Smith Scott Mullan Associates’ advice. They considered the use of under-floor ducts to pre-cool incoming air. The constant underground temperature of 8°C and the constant 18°C in the cave would provide efficient and free cooling, thereby using the unique site conditions to provide a comfortable interior environment with minimal energy use. Unfortunately, due to ground conditions, under-floor ducts proved to be impracticable. For the efficient heat transfer of the system, soil requires certain levels of saturation, a condition that could not be satisfied by the rocky, hard and dry soil in Mardin. The current design still benefits from the constant temperature of the cave through the location of the incoming air ducts. Ventilation requirements for the exhibition space led the design team towards the use of mechanical ventilation and the experimental use of a heat >
Left - Hillside homes can turn into ovens over the summer months Right - A network of caves provide air at a constant temperature of 18C
recovery ventilation system has been proposed. Naturally, solar energy has great potential in southern Turkey. To harness it, an array of PVs and solar panels has been proposed for the flat roof. To protect the views of the city, the panels are horizontal and the resulting reduction in performance accepted as a conservation-related cost. The electricity produced by PVs feeds the ventilation system and the airsource heat pump that, combined with underfloor heating, is used for both cooling and heating. The use of air-source heat pumps proved to be a suitable solution in the context of a very tight urban form and difficult ground conditions. Conclusion The ideas and technologies employed in the Tamirevi project are largely unknown in Turkey, even less so when forming one interconnected, holistic system. With this in mind, the project should be considered as experimental. Conservation considerations have, to an extent, reduced the energy efficiency of the final scheme by compromising insulation improvements and precluding the installation of green roofs. Despite these challenges, KMKD architect Sureyya Topaloglu has stated that the Tamirevi project is the most energy efficient conservation project in Turkey. The aspiration for the project is to create an exemplary precedent that could be followed by the residents of Mardin. URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
The impact of improvements to one building might be negligible but, if multiplied everywhere in the city, could transform the old town into a truly sustainable, liveable and vibrant place. To some extent it would also transform old cityâ€™s appearance. Weighing the conservation considerations against the energy efficiency gains can be challenging. The question is whether the former should always take precedence over the latter. Mardin, like many other historical places, faces a difficult dilemma between fully preserving its historic appearance and being practically habitable. In the dark atmosphere around the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice and amid current concerns around the limits of growth, it feels natural to turn towards conservation. Reusing and re-purposing existing buildings fits perfectly in the concept of circular economy, but we cannot forget that as buildings get older their energy consumption in use overtakes their embodied energy. If historic buildings are to be truly sustainable, more energy-efficiency techniques, materials and systems need to be developed and employed. Perhaps, considering climate change, a review of some of the conservation principles and priorities should also take place. Experimental, small scale projects, like Tamirevi, provide a perfect opportunity to challenge our current understanding of what energy efficiency in conservation is and what it could or should become.
SCHUPP & KREMMER MARK CHALMERS
Left - Dramatic lighting schemes bring this Cokeworks battery to life Right - Headstock at Zollverein 12 remains as impressive as ever
MARK CHALMERS EMBARKS ON A TOUR OF GERMANY’S RUHR REGION TO TAKE IN THE LEGACY BEQUEATHED BY BAUHAUS-TRAINED ARCHITECTS SCHUPP & KREMMER, WHO TRANSFORMED THE AREA WITH COLLIERIES AND FACTORIES. THE MOST FAMOUS OF THESE, ZOLLVEREIN, IS NOW A WORLD HERITAGE SITE - A STARK REMINDER OF THE GULF IN REGARD FOR OUR OWN INDUSTRIAL LEGACY. Over the past decade, I’ve made several trips to the Ruhr valley in Germany. The first began at Zollverein in Essen, a monumental colliery and cokeworks complex which is now a world heritage site. I also took in the Sinteranlage in Duisburg, a rusty hulk which sat in the middle of a wilderness, and Zeche Hugo at Gelsenkirchen, one of the final collieries in the Ruhr to close. During that trip, I became fascinated by the work of Schupp & Kremmer, the architects who designed Zollverein and Hugo. The buildings which wrap around the functions of a colliery – winding coal up the shaft, washing, grading, then despatching it – could easily be classed as non-architecture. After all, “architecture” is an artificial construct, the result of a silent agreement amongst the authors and journalists who have the power to define it. Do industrial buildings count as architecture? Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer spent their careers working URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
as industrial architects, which some might think is a contradiction in terms. They specialised in collieries, a building type which has all but disappeared now there is no deep coal mining in Western Europe. Schupp & Kremmer founded their practice exactly a century ago in 1919, just after the Great War ended, in the same year the Bauhaus was founded. Their architectural roots lay in the Expressionism which flowered in Weimar Germany during the 1920’s, but its reticulated and buttressed brickwork soon gave way to functionalism. The Bauhaus approach was particularly suited to industrial buildings, and Schupp & Kremmer recognised that. Coal mining began at Zollverein in 1851 and when a new shaft was required in 1928, Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, then around 30 years old, won the commission. The shaft, pit head and connected buildings of Zollverein XII were completed in 1932: with an output of 12,000 tons >
SCHUPP & KREMMER
Left - This elevated view illustrates how the cokeworks dominates the landscape Right - The cokeworks battery takes on the form of of a sculpture gallery and reflection pool by day
of coal each day, it became the world’s most productive colliery. The silhouette of Zollverein XII, a doppelförderung (double winding tower), soon became the symbol of the Ruhr. Traditionally, the back legs of headgear are inclined to resist the forces of the winding ropes, cages and minerals travelling up and down the shaft. In the case of Zollverein and its counterpart Barony in Ayrshire, all four legs are splayed outwards. The rest of the complex consists of austere, cubioidal buildings clad in brickwork and patent glazing. Schupp & Kremmer returned to Zollverein in the 1960’s to build a coking plant, the Zentralkokerei. On one side are the coaling towers, with conveyors zig-zagging down to the heads of the coke ovens. On the other side are rail tracks along which coke cars travelled, collecting the end product as it was discharged from the batteries after quenching. The overall effect is like a Constructivist cityscape. Zollverein XII shut in 1986, and the Zollverein cokeworks followed in June 1993 when German steel production was cut sharply. Its owners, Ruhrkohle AG, tried to sell the cokeworks as a job lot to the Chinese, but the deal fell through – so it sat derelict for nearly a decade while its URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
fate was debated. It was saved in 2001 by the industrial heritage trust who now run the entire Zollverein complex, and shortly afterwards it was declared a world heritage site. In the early 2000’s, a masterplan was prepared by Rem Koolhaas, who later converted colliery buildings into offices. The conversion of the Boiler House into the North Rhine-Westphalian Design Centre or “Red Dot” was carried out by Foster & Partners. Most of Zollverein has now been converted to cultural uses, such as the Red Dot, a visitor centre, an open air swimming pool and a choreography centre. Zollverein is probably the most comprehensive industrial preservation project in Europe, yet preservation hasn’t detracted from the Zentralkokerei’s authenticity: steel gratings rust, the atmosphere is still acrid, and granules of coke crunch underfoot. A couple of days later, I travelled to nearby Gelsenkirchen. Zeche Hugo closed a decade after Zollverein, and it was built much later, too. The 1960’s spareness of its umber-brown brickwork, the strip windows, black-painted steelwork and white tiles exemplify the rationalism which many German architects adopted in
the later years of Modernism. After closure, photographers became obsessed with the Schupp & Kremmer – by Kaue, a hall full of baskets which looked like birdcages which now Fritz Schupp on his own stored miners clothes, shoes and flammable contraband. account, because Martin Kremmer died in an air-raid in May 1945, at the very end of World War Two – built the outside Dinslaken. By now I’d begun to study Schupp & waschekaue (pithead baths and lockers) and lohnhalle Kremmers’ architecture and examine its sources. I realised (wages offices) at Hugo from 1952 to 1955. Then in 1961 that the panels of clinker brick infilled between rolled they completed the förderturm (winding tower) and steel columns and beams, were a direct descendant of the schachthalle (headworks) at Shaft 8. This complex was half-timbered houses built centuries earlier with brick and the culmination of the practice’s experience in designing stucco panels between the timbers. In architecture, there collieries. are precedents for everything. After closure, photographers became obsessed with By the 1950’s, production at Zeche Lohberg 1/2 had the Kaue, a hall full of baskets which looked like birdcages. risen from 4,000 tons to 13,000 tons per day, and that Rather than canaries, the miners stored their outdoor necessitated new headgear. In 1953 Fritz Schupp designed clothes, shoes and flammable contraband in the Kaue. a 70 meter high fördergerüst (winding frame) which was Each basket has a unique number, and I counted up to the highest in the Ruhr. He asked for his design to be 5000 ... before giving up. The Kaue lay abandoned until patented, and while that didn’t happen, it remains unique. preservation got underway: Shaft 2 winding house became When Ruhrkohle AG shut Zeche Lohberg in 2005, the the “Little Museum”, a venue for performances, dinners and town and the colliery both lost their purpose. The colliery book launches. will eventually become the “Kreativ im Quartier Lohberg“ A couple of years after photographing Zollverein and – following the example of the “Creativ Quartier Fürst Hugo, I returned to the Ruhr to visit Lohberg, a mining town Leopold” in nearby Dorsten, another colliery although this >
SCHUPP & KREMMER
time not designed by Schupp & Kremmer. Both locations now host events, exhibitions and art workshops. By now, I realised that the re-use of Schupp & Kremmer’s collieries was part of a wider pattern. Across the developed world, industrial production has been converted into art production. Factories and warehouses have become galleries and studios; perhaps it began with Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York. The appropriation of industrial buildings resonates with the materials and techniques which artists have borrowed from industry; the collieries also form an impressive backdrop to the arts, and therein lies a paradox. If you find beauty in collieries, it’s not because they were designed to please the eye, but rather they were put together to serve an over-riding function. Few ex-miners care about how photogenic Lohberg’s winding tower might be today. In their terms, it was beautiful only while it was working. The sense of artistic appropriation was strengthened by a visit to Zeche Schlägel & Eisen, where Schupp & Kremmer designed a new boilerhouse, entrance block and coal washery in 1938. Much had been demolished by the time I visited in 2011, and the remainder of the colliery faced an uncertain future. The Shaft 3 headgear and engine house are listed as historical monuments and have been preserved by a heritage foundation: they have a tentative future as a music and art venue. Once again, something of Schupp & Kremmer’s architecture has been saved by the Arts. That has become a defining theme of the 21st Century, and that includes the highest profile cultural buildings, such as Tate Britain in London (the former Bankside Power Station), the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead (a former Rank Hovis flour mill) and the Power Station of Art in Shanghai. In another part of the Ruhr, an abandoned colliery sits near the town of Hamm. Steinkohlenbergwerk Heinrich-Robert was rebuilt in 1953 with a new winding tower, heapstead, coal washery and other buildings designed by Schupp & Kremmer. Its unique feature is a hammerkopfturm (hammerhead winding tower), one of a handful left across the world. Heinrich-Robert is the best-preserved of all the Schupp & Kremmer buildings I’ve visited, in the sense that since closure in September 2010 it hasn’t been vandalised, refurbished or converted. The tower was never intended to be a public space, and it was a long climb up a narrow steel staircase into the darkness. Around 50 metres up, I emerged into a large hall at the top of the hammerhead. It was surprisingly bright and colourful. The chequerboard of cream and burgundy tiles on the floor was still overlain by a layer of coal dust. The winding engines, among the most powerful in the Ruhr coalfield, lay intact despite finishing work several years ago. Their > URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Suspended cages in the Kaue were used to store miners belongings
SCHUPP & KREMER
Above - Time stands still at the main pithead Below - The Tippler Hall takes on a new character
URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Winding engines inside the hammerhead tower now stand silent
shrouds are jasper green, which at a guess is RAL 6021 Blässgrün, and the powerful hydraulic brakes are bright red. The locked-up buildings are a time capsule, but a masterplan for Heinrich-Robert has been developed by a Dutch-German practice called DeZwarteHond working alongside Urban Catalyst Studio of Berlin. Their ambitions for Heinrich-Robert are much wider than just the buildings: with landscaped parkland intended to host concerts and festivals, plus forestry and a solar power station. A recent trip to the Ruhr prompted more questions. Is there a limitless appetite for cultural venues in northern Europe? The Ruhr metropolis extends to 12 million people – about the same as Greater Paris or London – and Zollverein, Hugo, Lohberg, Schlägel & Eisen and HeinrichRobert all lie within an hour’s drive of each other. The former collieries have become a network of regeneration projects, thanks to the demand for new Arts facilities. Secondly, is there a different attitude to industrial conservation in Germany? In Scotland we have an active Historic Environment Scotland with industrial specialists such as Mark Watson and Miles Oglethorpe who advise on the conservation of industrial buildings. However, with the
exception of Lady Victoria Colliery, the remnants of coal mining aren’t coherent. Scotland’s last working colliery was Longannet, and the recent demolition of the Castlebridge shaft destroyed most of what remained there. In Egon Riss, we had our own Fritz Schupp. Riss was an emigré Austrian who designed many of Scotland’s postWar collieries such as Seafield, Rothes and Monktonhall, yet almost nothing of his work survives. There are political reasons for that, tied up in the aftermath of the Miner’s Strike of 1984-85, but the economic forces are stronger still. VAT is levied at 20% on refurbishment work, but not on newbuilds – and business rate relief on vacant commercial buildings has been decimated. Empty industrials don’t lie abandoned for long, regardless of their heritage value. Finally, through Schupp & Kremmers’ legacy, I came to understand that sustainability is a broad kirk. The collieries accommodate new uses while sustaining their previous identity, re-using the building fabric, and supporting new jobs to replace those lost when coal died. By conserving the collieries the Landeskonservator and state government in North Rhein-Westphalia are actually involved in an enormous sustainable architecture project.
PRESTON BUS STATION IAN BANKS
Preston Bus Station set a new benchmark for brutalism exactly half a century ago URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BDP’S PRESTON BUS STATION IAN BANKS FINDS THE RADICALISM OF ITS CREATION TO BE ALIVE AND WELL TODAY THROUGH A LOOK AT THE KEY PROJECTS WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO THE ‘PRESTON MODEL’ OF COMMUNITY WEALTH BUILDING. CAN THIS NEW FORM OF LOCALISM SERVE AS A MODEL FOR THE WIDER COUNTRY?
New Ideas Set in Concrete: The current remodelling and 50th anniversary of BDP’s great ‘white whale’ of a bus station in Preston becomes the new benchmark for the future, social posterity of a city. “For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity”: Herman Melville, Moby-Dick A common definition of a concept being ‘concrete’ is something ‘existing in a material or physical form; not abstract’. However, in terms of the 50th anniversary this year of Building Design Partnership’s (BDP) so-called ‘brutalist’ Preston Bus Station (PBS), and in terms of what it now represents to the people of the city symbolically through its mixed fortunes in the past and during its current regeneration, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Guardian’s ‘Concrete Week’ in February described concrete as being ‘the most destructive material on earth’. Worryingly, it described enough concrete being poured globally every day to rebuild an equivalent of the Three Gorges Dam in China. Concrete is now the Earths most used material after water - and the third largest CO2 emitter. Despite such environmental concerns, concrete >
PRESTON BUS STATION
is an essential commodity to form a literal bed-rock to reinforce our civic society and public realm. The use of proto-concrete technology goes back thousands of years, during which the Romans first perfected the mix to make the sum of the composites greater than its parts. Indeed, the word concrete stems from the Latin concretus, meaning “to grow together”. The Roman legacy, like the Pantheon and Colosseum, are testament to the materials propensity for beauty, versatility and durability. Roll on nearly two thousand years, to a far more modest but still very important piece of concrete ‘archaeology’ about to be celebrated in Preston this year: October will mark 50 years since the opening of the city’s iconic PBS and car park in 1969. Its birthday will act as the focus for a year-long series of planned cultural events for this ‘beautiful and brutal’ building, and which will include curated collections, exhibitions, films, tours and artist interventions. Led by artist Charles Quick, cocurator of In Certain Places , this collaboration with the Harris Museum and Art Gallery will celebrate the iconic modernism and look to “re-present and reveal” PBS to “contextualise the social architecture”. This for an ageing building now currently enjoying both a major regeneration and a creatively reimagined future, and all achieved at the 11th hour, on the verge of potential demolition. Talk about waiting a long time for the right bus to come along and then several turn up at once. Built by contractor John Laing, the design is characterized by the use of exposed structure, dynamic geometry and functional space-planning. A ‘scallopshell façade of GRP moulded precast ribs form the bus station’s signature look. Designed by Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson of BDP (in partnership with E.H Stazicker and Ove Arup and Partners), in those early days, their offices included a home base in Preston. It is reported that Ingham had stated the aim had been to give to the ordinary people of Preston a ‘taste of the good life’ through allusions to airport terminals and the (then) deemed luxury of air travel for the masses. Such sentiment mirrored the utopianism in 1963 of Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s vision for a “white heat” of technology era for “New Britain”. This was to be forged from a “scientific revolution” that replaced a previously ‘cloth cap’ provincialism of the wider country. Gearing up for this growth, the New Towns Act had earmarked a ‘Red Rose Development’ for Preston as an overspill satellite for Liverpool and Manchester. By 1970 this had culminated in the designation of a Central Lancashire New Town, the largest of the English New Towns. Thus Preston had been set up to become a new ‘Super City’ to deal with a population explosion that just never came. But at least it had a bus station ready, and with future capacity to spare. Often referred to as being built in the brutalist style URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
(the original term “brutalism” comes from the French term betón brut, meaning ‘raw concrete’), given the detailed sculptural façade and social idealism alluded to, PBS might also be argued to have a slight leaning towards the ‘NeoFuturism’ movement of the time as well. Contemporaries to early BDP, like sculpture-trained architect Eero Saarinen and his Washington Dulles International Airport, are a case in point – albeit on a grander stage. With affinities to Ingham’s vague airport allusions and Wilson’s social idealism, here was the paradox of a deliberately understated public building being similarly full of ambition for a positive future of aesthetic functionality, linked to rapidly growing cities and technological advancement. Regardless of whatever taxonomic rank of architecture is agreed for the bus station, size-wise at least, after 50 years this iconic monolith still remains the indisputable
Left - Despite its size the bus station has shaken off the white elephant tag Right - Functional space planning defines the pared down interior aesthetic
‘Moby Dick’ of bus stations, when compared with almost all others globally. At 170 metres long, it is often referred to as the second largest in Europe. A bold statement for the times when built, it provided standing room for an incredible 80 ‘double-deckers’ on all sides and car parking for 1,100 cars on 9 decks above. That Preston Bis Station has maintained itself over many years whilst largely remaining popular, speaks volumes - literally. Many saw it as an ugly edifice of course, but significant others felt passionately enough to attempt to covet and retain it. As such, and during a 13-year campaign it generated its own appreciation society and pressure group to ‘Save Preston Bus Station’ - and even a short film titled ‘56000’ in its homage. It also ranked in an incredible second position in BDP’s own generated public poll and ‘Placebook’ created to mark the practices own 50th anniversary year in 2011.
In fact, it was the only building from BDP’s 20th century portfolio to be represented in their top ten at all. Such pride finally paid off when Grade II listed status was finally awarded in 2013 after several spot listing applications made by the 20th Century Society. Since then, a rapid volte-face has followed, driven by the listing and earlier inclusion of classed ‘at-risk’ on the World Monuments 2012 Watch List. Not before time, as enquiries had still been ongoing into the real possibility of demolition of PBS by Preston City Council as late as December 2012. To facilitate its full reprieve from death row, the building ownership was first transferred to Lancashire County Council (LCC) in 2014 for a peppercorn sum. As a result, the current £25m design for a remodelled complex and surround is now being led by architects John Puttick >
PRESTON BUS STATION
Left - Prestonians have adopted their central bus station with a fresh sense of pride Right - The iconic scallop shell facade was recently modernised
Associates. Their design proposals were selected via an RIBA international design competition, with a local Preston poll of citizens selecting their favourite. As well as the critical regeneration of the bus station, covered concourse and car parking above, there will soon be new public square added to one side. This late escape and reinvention is arguably similar to a fall and rise of the city of Preston itself - as the previously overlooked and under-valued third city in England’s North West. Things are certainly different in the area now however, with a new ‘Preston Model’ of localism set well in motion and this reboot creating a real upturn of positivity. Such enhanced civic pride and critical momentum is also fast becoming the envy of many other city councils, politicians and economists world-wide. The Preston Model is the term applied to how the council, its anchor institutions and other stakeholders are now implementing the principles of ‘Community Wealth Building’ in both city and neighbouring Lancashire. The UK independent think tank The Centre for Local Economic URBAN REALM SPRING 2019 URBANREALM.COM
Strategies (CLES) has worked with Preston City Council to harness more collective spending power. They, along with other key anchor institutions such as Lancashire County Council, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the Community Gateway (Housing) Association are developing a vision that unlocks a paradigm shift for greater economic, social and environmental benefit for the regional economy and residents alike. Ironic then that the catalyst for such a positive model, with linked schemes like the saving of the bus station, came about following the abandonment of the Tythebarn scheme, an earlier £700m re-development joint venture which had looked to demolish it. The 2011 scrapping of this project was an inevitable consequence following on from the 2008 financial crisis. That, as well as the incoming Coalition Governments announcement in 2010 that initiated the abolition of New Labour’s Regional Development Agencies and dismantling of the regeneration gravy train they helped drive. But like the cyclical global economy, if you wait long
enough, a boom that turns to bust will eventually come back around to boom again. So it is in Preston potentially, where the Labour-run city of 140,000 residents are now being championed as a new model and test bed for a ‘new socialist ideal as endorsed by the current Labour Party and grassroots Momentum group. Leader Jeremy Corbyn has described Preston as an “inspiring” innovation in a 2017 speech, whilst a year earlier, his Shadow Chancellor John McDonald had observed “This kind of radicalism is exactly what we need across the whole country”. Whether radical futurism or just good common sense remains to be seen. But with the already restored outdoor markets and development plans afoot for the adjacent indoor market and ‘Re-imagining the Harris’ museum and art gallery, it certainly feels like the city is re-gathering critical pace across many fronts. Indeed, UCLan are now also well on with consolidating their own University Masterplan and 2020 vision. This integrates the city campus far more seamlessly into the fabric of Preston, and includes at its heart, a £57m design scheme for an
competition-winning Student Centre and major new public square, being led by architects Hawkins\Brown. Whatever economic outcomes the next cyclic downturn or Brexit brings, the City Centre Action Plan adopted by the City Council in 2016 states as its USP that ‘Preston is Open for Business’. This is certainly self-evident today going forward. Another much-used but often unattributed strapline “Think Global, Act Local” might also apply to the Preston Model. Either way, Preston can help teach us that to achieve the complex alchemy of setting any new concrete ideal, a city needs to be visionary yet calculated in equal measure, whilst supporting at the core the sometimes more abstract complexities of people and place. Whether seen as the third city of the North West or having the second largest bus station in Europe, doesn’t matter. Preston has now put itself in first place again looking towards a future where the democratic case for a new economic ideology and cultural mojo is back at the front of a queue, and where everyone is invited on board.
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