Looking surprisingly similar to the Stirling Prize winning bridge in Gateshead, this £40m project turns crossing the Clyde into an event with its huge curve in plan. London- based Richard Rogers has been one of Britain's most famous architects for decades but has yet to build anything north of the border. Now he gets to make a circuitous link between
Tradeston and Broomielaw.
l BBC Scotland
The architect, David Chipperfield, is known for high quality restrained buildings but the BBC HQ seems almost too restrained, as if the budget was cut. The interior has a wonderful stepped section but is not expressed externally. The only decoration on the facades are the illuminated BBC signs.
Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid is not everyone's cup of tea, but Glasgow has pulled off a coup as the River Museum will be her first major UK building. l-ladid is also based in London where she was taught. The competition for the museum upset many when the then council leader suggested he didn't want a Scottish architect.
such as the brazen Moat House Hotel will also take supreme efforts to integrate into an effective high quality vision.
Previous regeneration in areas such as (‘rown Street in the (iorbals. and along Buchanan Street. is now sending tentacles down to the (‘lyde. The former area‘s regeneration has spread into Tradeston with architects such as (‘7.W(‘i. best known for its London bttildings using brightly coloured glazed brick facades. Meanwhile. Buchanan Street currently ends in the disaster that is St linocb Square btit this is set to change with the approval of RMJM's massive (‘ustom House Quay project. The Square itself is exactly the kind of public space that needs radical improvement. ()n a similar scale (iH2 ((ilasgow Harbour 2) by gm+ad architects. on the west of the regeneration zone. also locates large residential blocks fairly hard up against the river. The density of these two schemes has shocked some observers but the city is simply growing tip.
In recent years I've walked around (‘openhagen‘s dockyards. which are also being redeveloped. The quality of materials and design is marginally better than in (ilasgow. bttt that is to be expected as the city is wealthier. There are plenty of dull sections cheek— by-jowl with beautiful new buildings. But the key qua/[Iv difference is the landscaping between and around buildings: this is generally of a high standard. interesting and aesthetically enriching. From what I‘ve seen so far in (ilasgow. landscaping is a major weakness of the (‘lyde regeneration. Talented landscapers. such as Scottish studio (iross.Max. should be integral to realisation of Glasgow’s vision.
I do hope this issue will change by the time the
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majority of properties are complete. and improve with maturity of planting. In fact. there needs to be a huge increase in the number of trees planted: they soften the landscape and provide much-needed colour and shade. never mind their air cleansing properties. Thankfully. much of the surface car parking. such as at the Sli(‘(‘. is due to be built over: there‘s no place for bare expanses of tarmac in such an urban setting.
In terms of infrastructure one of the key issues is transport. With the subway due to extend into some of the former dock areas and additional bridges this is a key strength of the council‘s vision. l‘requent river crossings are really important for creating pedestrian/cycle connections. Btit too much of recent development has relied on the car. In (‘openhagen around a third of commuters cycle to work and Glasgow (‘ity (‘ouncil should try everything in its power to encourage people out of their cars.
Whatever happens in the next few years there will be gripes. Before the regeneration can be deemed a success we have to allow a few years to see how residents settle in and whether strong communities emerge. (‘harlie Gordon may aspire to ‘middle class communities’ btit — for a whole host of reasons such as crime and lifestyle — the communities have first and foremost to be successful neighbourhoods. integrated into a strong city infrastructure.
Adrian Welch’s website www.glasgow architecture.co.uk offers wide-ranging coverage of contemporary architecture in the city. The List’s editor Nick Barley will be chairing a forum on sustainable architecture at the Scottish Design Show, Tramway, Glasgow on Thu 6 Oct.
The computer-aided visions of the future riverfront are all very well, but there are plenty of details to be sorted out. Here are the holiday snaps that today’s visitor might take . . .
Is there any hope for Glasgow's new architecture when the City allows a unique building by one of its greatest architects. Alexander ‘Greek' Thomson. to fall into shocking disrepair?
JOINED UP THINKING?
The St Enoch shopping centre looms behind the buildings on the Clyde. while the newest riverfront flats ~ whatever their own merits appear not to have any dialogue With the buildings around them. And there's not much to tempt walkers down to the waterfront either . . .
..‘ 0‘ . THE SPACES IN BETWEEN Grim news for pedestrians: too many spaces on the Clyde remain overgrown and apparently neglected. Compare this With the welltended footpaths that run along restored riverfronts in Newcastle. l ondon, Bristol and other Cities.
TRANSPARENTLY OBSCURE Are the landmark buildings going to live up to their billing? Many of the images of the planned buildings portray them in the evening, radiating warm light out of their glass facades. But the realtty. under a grim grey sky. is not necessarily quite so see through