Alan Dunlop's comments
I agree Robert, this is possibly better news. However, if Glasgow Life has deaf ears, it may require the necessary intervention of the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP. She is responsible for architecture and heritage and said this at the awarding of Category Grade A Listing for the Burrell Building:
"The Burrell Collection is one of Glasgow and Scotland's most impressive buildings of its period and has contributed so much to our understanding of design thinking and the innovative use of interior and exterior space.
The A-listing for the Burrell Collection is a fitting tribute especially in this its 30th year and recognises the significant contribution it has made to Glasgow's landscape and the aesthetic pleasure it has brought to many over the years."
Let's hope Fiona Hyslop and the newly elected SNP leadership at Glasgow City Council will intervene to halt this crass intervention , force Glasgow Life to open their ears, rethink and save the building.
It will become clear over the next few days and weeks that a number of esteemed architects and respected academics are deeply concerned about the proposed changes, more than Patrick Lynch and myself and fully support John Meunier.
With regard to the new entrance proposals and the removal of the Hutton Rooms, the previous keeper of the Burrell Collection Professor Richard Marks has written saying “Without seeing the alternatives, the proposals, especially the entrance arm, are of great concern, both as a former Keeper and an art historian. As for the Hutton rooms, it was always the case that their enclosed nature made them somewhat inaccessible to visitors, but it was a condition of (Sir William Burrell’s) Deed of Gift that they should be recreated. I dispute the notion that the entrance arm is off-putting when anyone approaching can see the building in toto.
Catherine Croft of the 20th Century Society has also written to say "Very pleased to learn that C20 is not alone at being very concerned about this scheme. The Society is disappointed that the applicant has not been able to develop this scheme without impacting the Hutton Rooms to such an extent, particularly given the unique nature of the architectural response to the bequest and its status as a Category A listed building of this type.” The architects "did do very good research, they involved C20 extensively in pre-application discussions, but they persisted with the alterations to the Hutton Rooms and the entrance, in the full knowledge of our views that the alterations they were proposing were fundamentally unsympathetic to the buildings, and not something which could be addressed, or even significantly mitigated, by the level of alterations to those areas which they were prepared to consider."
Indeed, many congratulations and good luck.
True, dementia sufferer is a poor term. Also true is that the average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is five years. Studies now indicate that good architecture and appropriate design of the physical environment for people with dementia slows the rate of decline.
Which means care homes, particularly should be well planned to encourage self reliance and independence and designed with high levels of natural light and access to secure outdoor garden spaces, with visual cues, make it easier for people to find their way around without support.
Other empirical studies on the importance of the physical environment have more recently been extended to cover many other aspects of the built environment and there are now multiple neuro-scientific studies which evidence that an individual’s well being and health are directly impacted by the quality of their physical environment.
This research provides insights into how the mind and the brain experience architectural settings but is sometimes hidden away in academic papers or obscured by scientific jargon; impenetrable to most architects, overlooked by politicians, and easy to ignore in an industry with differing priorities.
It's not the architects that are not doing enough, in fact designing physical environments for people with dementia is an area where architects can offer real expertise and improve quality of life. I've been writing, ( Hard Architecture and Human Scale: Designing for Dementia); lecturing ( Salk Institute AIA, RIAS MIT IIT ) and harping on about this (almost everywhere) for 24 years. Until the recent advances in medicine, studies mainly from Australia and USA clearly indicated that the physical design, of homes and other care environments for example slowed the progression of dementia. Think of that architects, empirical proof that really good design matters.
JMP analysis of the "problematic"existing entrance.
"1. On entrance to the building you are faced with a very narrow, shallow lobby space which is compressed further on either side by toilets which create a bottle neck on entry to the building.
2. This 19m long entrance corridor is further compressed by cloakrooms flanking either side extending the bottle neck.
3. This wonderful triple height space is filled with light from the skylight above. This space is spoilt by a confusing entrance desk and shop.
4. This moment of compression is spoilt with overflow from the shop and creates a very confusing entrance to the courtyard.
5. The Courtyard is the buildings natural HUB."
Perhaps Architects' Journal might encourage a response from John Meunier and Brit Andresen, given these comments and those listed before that the existing entrance is unwelcoming and intimidating?
Perhaps also simply moving the gift shop and desk away would have made the existing entrance sequence and transition now less of a bottle neck and not so spoiled and confusing?
The Planning Application can be found here:
It includes plans not previously released and correspondence from Historic Environment Scotland, concerning the landscaping proposals and the "height and bulk of proposed play apparatus "but nothing on the alterations to the building fabric and particularly the new entrance.
Text from the planning support document, justification for the new entrance.
"The monolithic gable end entrance wing feels very church like and austere and can often be mistaken for a private building. This unwelcoming approach is reinforced by the lack of views into the gallery from outside. This intimidating entrance combined with compromised accessibility into and around the gallery makes for a confusing visitor experience."
Any plans available of this renaissance ?.......despite the leaking roof, the Burrell is a precious thing. Although completed over thirty years ago, it is yet to be surpassed as an art gallery and museum in the UK. The existing entrance through a 16th century stone archway set in the Locharbriggs red sandstone is fundamental part of the entrance sequence and transition. The incorporation of elements on the collection into the building fabric and the terraces, which meld the building into the landscape of Pollok Park also are critical.
It's a considered and unique building, surpassed only perhaps by Jorgen Bo and Vilhelm Wohlert's Louisiana in Humlebaek. Judging by these ubiquitous CGI's, I can't yet see how it is being improved, for the new entrance, if that's what it is, is worrying and the images of the new spaces, frankly, rather dull in comparison.
Very sad. All students of architecture should be directed ( forcibly) toward the work of ABK for the extraordinary clarity of plan and section through drawing and the legibility of their completed work. Buildings indeed clear enough to read.