Thursday, July 16, 2009

Revolt on the Clyde

Next week I will be going to Glasgow for BD, possibly even using a motorcar, although I stress this departure from public transport is only so I can enjoy the Scottish motorway system. Any recommendations of housing scandals, recent buildings good or awful, Red Clydeside heritage tours, and in particular, confirmation or disproving of the persistent rumour that recent yuppiedromes there are being used as council flats, will all be very much appreciated. Comments box is below.

(obviously I won't be visiting the above as it's not there anymore, but note that it comes up on something like the second page if you google images 'Glasgow architecture')


Anonymous Anne said...

A motor car indeed. Well, you might enjoy the sliproad that comes onto the fast lane of the M8 neat the city centre.

The story goes that the town planner bought their designs from the US and forgot to reverse the road direction.

Will send some other, more sensible, suggestions directly.

8:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's no council housing in glasgow; the residents voted to transfer ownership to housing associations and co-ops back in 2003. check the merchant city; gentrification going on i think...

9:07 pm  
Blogger Andy said...

Anonymous above is right - gentrification and brownfield redevelopment seem to be very much the trend right now. Have a look at the riverside area, from the centre out to Glasgow Harbour - I'm not sure if I'd call it architecurally 'good' but it's certainly interesting. Also similar things going on in places like New Gorbals, but you maybe knew about that already.

10:25 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Have been informed elsewhere about the non-council thing - a very extreme version of what is happening everywhere else... Anyone know much about the politics of this? Was this a Labour or SNP policy? Where did the SSP (before it committed bizarre hari-kiri) stand on it...? (or I could just do my own research)

11:16 pm  
Blogger Douglas Murphy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:00 am  
Blogger Murphy said...

Labour all the way, I'm afraid...

I've got my own list forming, including a certain pathetic 3D logo, the low-rise-pomo shit (piers gough, oh god) that replaced the photo to this post, various tall things that people live in, some ghost buildings, the 'mondrian' development, some lovely things made from red sandstone, some horrible things by the river, the macho-decon of GM+AD, some 'greatest building in the world' or other, and a tasty pint in the Doublet (although Uisge Beathe might be more appropriate for a southerner)...

Alas, you probably don't have time to visit any significant GKC stuff...

1:01 am  
Anonymous FFS said...

The privatisation was very much Labour's baby; I'm not sure of the SNP's position, and the SSP were implacably opposed, but that mattered little as under Glasgow's (recently-reformed), comically-iniquitous council election system, they had only three and one councillor(s) respectively.

The idea, as proposed, was the GHA would effectively function as a holding company whilst breaking itself down into small local tenant-run co-operatives. Unsurprisingly, considering the mammoth salaries senior staff are paying themselves, the organisation is now resisting this process with all its might, and the SNP are looking at legislation to force its break-up.

GHA, incidently, are my former and, considering I'm now probably going to be self-funding my PhD, possible future employers. Sans aforementioned massive salary, unfortunately.

I can heartily second Murphy's recommendation of the Doublet (I've just returned from a fine evening in the place), but Uisge Beathe, whilst still pleasant, is a pale shadow of its former self, useful mainly for when the Doublet closes early on Sundays and Mondays.

The Laurieston in the Gorbals is also a great little pub, reckoned by CAMRA to be the best-preserved 1960's bar in Britain. Some nice geometric mosaic work on the outside too, and a magnificent formica-clad gents'. I would also recommend the Portland Arms in the East End, a proto-modernist gem, except it's filthy and patronised exclusively by scowling psychopaths.

1:20 am  
Anonymous FFS said...

Oh, and as for the "Merchant City", its gentrification began at least thirty years ago and, with the exception of a few derelict corners working their way though the planning process, is about as complete as it's ever going to get.

The name Merchant City was coined only in the mid-80's, and prompted the formation of the Workers' City group, horrified at the council's attempts both to deliberately yuppify the centre and to glorify the men who built their wealth on the slave trade. You can see some of their memorabela at the Scotia Bar, which is worth visiting (if only for the completely non-ironic pictures of Lenin and Castro that festoon the place) if you can ignore whatever dreadful folk covers act will inevitably be playing in the corner.

On a similar subject, take a look a the yuppiedromes filling in gap sites in the city centre (mercifully both rarer and generally less ostentatious than in Manchester) and consider that many used to be occupied by signs proclaiming their future use for council housing come the next Labour government.

Oh, and you probably won't be able to avoid looking at this piece of shit whilst you're in the city. Keep a table handy for headbanging purposes.

That's its better fucking side.

1:40 am  
Anonymous Willie Miller said...

what you really need is a copy of 'Glasgow at a Glance' - first published 1965 then 1977 by Doak and Young. some wonderful stuff from the late 50s through to 70-ish. I can lend you this for the price of a coffee. if you can't then look at Basil Spence's Dept of Virology building in Church Street + the adjacent tower (also Spence). Dare I mention Gillespie Kidd and Coia's Seminary at Cardross?
When are you up here?

9:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@willie miller: shouldn't you concentrating on the Dons Europa League qualifiers?

9:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

unless of course, you're the Hibs/Cowdenbeath boy.. sorry Owen, off topic i know..

9:50 pm  
Anonymous Willie Miller said...

@anonymous: I've tried this and been singularly unsuccessful as you know

9:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@willie miller: he he, fair play. i hear the chip shops aren't doing too well either. then again, i've just signed barry squareba

10:10 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...


I'll be there from the 21st to the 23rd, since you asked.

10:23 pm  
Anonymous Willie Miller said...

shite - I'll be in London, Bristol and Liverpool on these days. if you think the book might help i'll scan some of the sections and send them down


10:47 pm  
Anonymous Lang Rabbie said...

My personal "guilty favourite" bit of 60s Glasgow modernism was Derek Stephenson's Heron House which loomed up behind Greek Thomson's St Vincent Street Church.

It was unfortunately the recent victim of a reclad job to convert it into "The Pinnacle" apartments.

Photos from the RCAHMS before the reclad:

12:37 am  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Wow - that's spectacular. Fucking cladding...

WM, I'm already going to have so many places on the list that it's unlikely I'll need the book urgently - but I will look it up when I get back.

1:06 am  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

It seems on 30 seconds of googling that the same people did the recladding of Hyde Park in Sheffield, replete with before-and-after shot that only someone with a hollow where their heart should be could possibly consider an improvement.

1:11 am  
Blogger owen hatherley said... fact, the sheer awfulness of all the 'after' shots on that site suggest that Ghost of Nairn ought to be made aware of this firm's existence, if he/she isn't already.

1:15 am  
Anonymous Lang Rabbie said...

Another bit of Glasgow brutalism that I'm strangely sentimental about, and which has fallen victim to the cult of cladding, was the former Clydeway Industrial Centre out to the west at Finnieston Street, now branded as Skypark.

After driving back from Loch Lomond through all those sad, dreary non-places along the north bank of the Clyde, I always regarded this gritty bit of speculative development in glass and engineering brick as the start of "proper" Glasgow.

A correspondent of the Joy of Concrete posted a picture of it in its former guise.

Google Earth shows the full horror now that the most promominent corner is covered in mirror glass and O2 logos.

2:40 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

Can't go wrong with GKC, the bridges of the M8 or (given a far wider scope) the chickenwire clad haunting of New St Andrew's House though it's neither in Glasgow or on the M8.

11:25 pm  
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