Adam Smith Building – Glasgow
Architects: David Harvey Alex Scott & Associates
The Boyd Orr Building – Glasgow
Architects: Dorward Matheson Gleave & Partners
A part of the University of Glasgow, the Boyd Orr Building houses several different functions including a variety of lecture theatres, seminar rooms and offices. The interior rooms of the building, indeed any of the University’s buildings, can be seen using their handy room photo service. The shape of the lecture theatres on the ground floor is clear when viewing the exterior, while several interconnected blocks rise 7 stories above. The building is clad in two different colours of rough aggregate concrete panels, giving it an uncompromising look. As you climb the staircase to the main entrance, you notice that the corners of the square blocks on the ground floor are absent and replaced by thin piloti. Where the piloti join the blocks on the first floor, the rough cladding is stripped back to reveal a nice bit of functional detailing. Some of the connected buildings are heavy square blocks, supported on long rows of piers, a modernist take on the classical colonnade. While there are a lot of windows, many are of an unusual translucent glass. Perhaps there were concerns about students being distracted by the views the building offers over the wonderful city of Glasgow.
Queen Margaret Union – Glasgow
Architects: Walter Underwood and Partners
This building is home to one of the University of Glasgow’s two Students’ Unions and contains a music venue, various bars, food outlets and offices. The highlight for me is the fantastic concrete staircase around the rear of the building. It has certainly seen better days. The graffiti and collection of bags of sand at the bottom give it a dismal appearance, while the bars preventing roof access at the top make it look angry and imposing. Yes, sand needs to be stored and dangerous student hijinks need to be prevented, but in my opinion it would be worth cleaning this up and making a bit of a feature of it.
If you are into Scottish Brutalism then have a look at the excellent Scottish Brutalism website. It was a useful resource for planning my Glasgow trip and for some details of the buildings.
The Savoy Centre – Glasgow
Architects: Gavin Paterson and Sons
On a rainy Glasgow afternoon I didn’t manage to get the range or quality of shots that I would have liked of this concrete behemoth. From what I did manage to get you can see that the building is covered in a textured concrete cladding, and features the name of the centre stamped on the side in low relief and also in blue raised lettering around the corner, both are fantastic pieces of 70s modernist design. I didn’t manage to get any shots of the tall tower that looms behind the concrete box or the covered bridge which takes you from one side of the road straight into the building on the first floor. There has been talk of redevelopment, so perhaps by the time I return to Glasgow it will have been transformed into a steel and glass tower, meaning I won’t get chance to complete my photo set.
72 Charlotte Street – Glasgow
Architects: Isi Metzstein and Andy McMillan
This building is currently home to the Wise Group social enterprise, but was originally designed as part of Our Lady and St Francis Secondary School for girls. The frame of the building is concrete and the walls are purple engineering brick. The structure sitting on top of the podium has a pleasing modular look, created by wall and window sections protruding from glazed connecting areas. A slightly overhanging concrete roof and small service tower repeat the wedge pattern seen in the modules below. An interesting design and a smart little building.
Trellick Tower – London
Architect: Erno Goldfinger
For some a classic, for others an ugly blight on the landscape. Trellick Tower is an embodiment of the modernist tenet of ‘form follows function’, with each aspect of its distinctive shape determined by the requirements of the people living within. The main block of the 31 storey tower takes the form of thin slab, enabling all apartments to have windows on either side of the building, giving fantastic views of the city to all residents. Noisy and potentially smelly amenities – lifts, stairs, launderettes and rubbish chute – are located in a separate service tower which is crowned by the boiler room. The service tower is connected to the main slab by glazed walkways at every third floor to ensure a speedy lift service. On the ground floor there is a doctors surgery, shops, and a bookies.
The tower is constructed primarily of in situ cast concrete, with a sandy colour and a rather coarse aggregate. The bush hammered finish gives a rough texture which adds to the uncompromising feel of the building.
It was a beautiful day when I visited, the sun was shining and everyone seemed happy. Two young men answered questions from a tourist as they topped up a nearby graffiti wall (I’m assuming it was all legit). One chap proudly told me that the building I was photographing was very famous, one woman even offered to pose for some shots on her mobility scooter. You get the sense that there is a great community spirit around the place.