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Collective Architecture reinstates community centre at the heart of 1950s Glasgow estate


The new Barmulloch Residents Centre replaces a well-loved but tired 1950s structure

The site’s original community hall dates back to 1957, built by tenants in what was then one of Glasgow’s new housing schemes. It was the first, and for many years the only, community facility in Barmulloch and was administered by volunteers serving in Barmulloch Tenant and Residents Association.

Used and loved by generations, the Tenants’ Hall became unfit for purpose in 2005. A company was formed to raise funds for a new multi-use premises and to provide social economic and welfare services. Collective Architecture was appointed in 2007 to undertake a feasibility study for the existing community centre which explored a number of refurbishment, extension and new build options. It took 10 years from that initial appointment to deliver the project on site, and during this time Collective Architecture continued to work closely with the client to help achieve the capital funding targets from over eight funding bodies.

The centre, principally funded by the Big Lottery Growing Community Assets Fund, is constructed with a glulam timber frame and locally sourced sandstone. It is designed to be highly sustainable and provide flexible activity spaces to meet the needs and aspirations of local residents. Air source heat pumps provide underfloor heating throughout to reduce running costs and sustain the building well into the future.

The building delivers two main flexible activity spaces separated by a folding partition, contained within a single-storey sloping roof. Ceiling coffers formed by the structural grid of the glulam beams provide a strong identity for the building while also framing generous rooflights intended to reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day. The grid pattern is carried through into BCDC signage and building manifestation to provide continuity of architectural language.

All spaces are organised around and accessed from a central foyer and waiting area. This overlapping of functions and careful plan arrangement allows a light and generous volume to act as the heart of an efficient floor plan. Part of the original sprung floor – reportedly ideal for dancing – has been integrated into the new centre as part of the signage strategy.  

Barmulloch residents centre 5

Barmulloch residents centre 5

Architect’s view

Working collaboratively on this community project from inception to completion has been very rewarding. We are grateful to have had such a patient and courageous client who supported our design vision throughout.

Alan Smith, Collective Architecture

Client’s view

The building has become an icon of which the local community is immensely proud and the development of this project has vastly increased local interest and community spirit within Barmulloch.

Jim Hope, Barmulloch Community Development Company

07 glulam structural frame

07 glulam structural frame

Glulam structural frame

Project data

Start on site June 2015
Completion June 2017
Gross internal floor area 573m²
Form of contract JCT SBC-Q 2011
Construction cost £1.5 million excluding VAT 
Collective Architecture
Client Barmulloch Community Development Company
Structural engineer Scott Bennett Associates
M&E consultant DMP Consulting Engineers
Quantity surveyor & principal designer Ewing Somerville Partnership
Graphic designer Graphical House
Clerk of works Wheatley Group
Main contractor Elmwood Projects
CAD software used Vectorworks


Readers' comments (2)

  • And there was a Clerk of Works!

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  • I know Barmulloch well, it's an area of Glasgow that has experienced deprivation but has retained a strong community spirit. This is an excellent example of community participation and resolve and the commitment of the architects over a number of years to produce something remarkable. This is a true "masterpiece of regeneration". Congratulations to Collective Architecture and the Barmulloch Community Development Company

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