Glasgow City Council is recruiting a design team to draw up four District Regeneration Frameworks for its central area
The multidisciplinary team selected for the estimated £450,000 contract will create high-level stragies for the downtown Cowcaddens, Learning Quarter, Townhead and Merchant City areas of Scotland’s largest city.
In its brief, the council says: ‘The overall aim is the production of an evidence-based regeneration plan for each district that lays out a clear vision – based on the evidence and public/stakeholder inputs – along with key objectives and a series of short, medium and long-term actions to deliver those objectives and achieve the district vision over a 10-year period.’
In the past five years, Glasgow Council has adopted an ambitious City Centre Strategy including district regeneration projects and a major programme of public realm improvements.
In 2016, MVRDV and Austin-Smith:Lord were selected to draw up the first tranche of masterplans, covering Broomielaw, Blythswood, St Enoch and the central district. They were asked to rethink approaches to vacant buildings, under-utilised plots, changes in retail patterns, city centre living, public open space, safety and traffic management.
The duo’s initial proposals for Broomielaw district (pictured) were approved in June and their visions for St Enoch, Central and Blythswood are expected to go out for public consultation in the coming year.
An initial framework by Gehl Architects for the Sauchiehall area was completed three years ago.
The search for a consultancy team comes almost ten months after the local authority appointed Mackintosh School of Architecture professor Brian Evans to the newly created role of city urbanist. Evans will lead a Place Commission panel also featuring Jude Barbour of Collective Architecture and Ann Allen, chair of Architecture and Design Scotland.
Alongside the strategic visions, the council is delivering a series of public realm projects – dubbed ‘avenues’ – with support from Glasgow’s £1.13 billion City Deal investment programme.
The first public realm tranche – named Block A and covering seven areas – was awarded to Civic Engineers while the Block B tranche – featuring five areas – was awarded to Ironside Farrar. The final Block C tranche is expected to be tendered in January.
The latest batch of district regeneration frameworks will run from 6 January 2020 and will be in place for up to three years. Bids will be evaluated 80 per cent on quality and 20 per cent on cost. The deadline for applications is midday, 15 November.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
Glasgow City Council
Chief Executives Department
Tel: +44 1412876424
Jane Laiolo, group manager, city centre regeneration: city centre avenues and city centre strategy at Glasgow City Council
Why are you recruiting a design team for the final tranche of city centre district regeneration frameworks?
These DRFs stemmed from the District Strategy for Glasgow City Centre which was a concept devised by a team of internal officers and external consultants - particularly 7N Architects - back in 2012/13 as we were developing the City Centre Strategy 2014-19. The District Strategy mooted the concept of the creation of a District Regeneration Framework for each of the nine identified city centre districts in Glasgow, and also the Avenues concept, which subsequently became a reality through the allocation of £115million of Glasgow City Region City Deal funding.
We are not doing a contest - it’s a tender process. We are required to go through a tender process as a public body. We believe the approach we take to most things City Centre Strategy is working – the use of multi-disciplinary design teams with international expertise certainly brings a raft of knowledge and experience we would not otherwise get, and the focus on developing an evidence base that is underpinned by public and stakeholder engagement is engendering a wide sense of ownership and support for these proposals, as evidenced through public consultations.
The DRFs are not masterplans – they are regeneration strategies that look at the District as a whole, looking at the short, medium and long-term opportunities and constraints, and finding small, medium and large solutions and interventions in response
What is your vision for the future of the four areas covered by the frameworks?
The vision is that each of the four areas, like the other five, have a bespoke regeneration plan that sets clear prioritise, identifies deliverable opportunities, and which is built on the raft of evidence and engagement that ensures these proposals are not just deliverable, but sustainable - in economic, social, environmental, etc terms. We are not pre-empting the outcome of the development period by making assumptions now about the possible vision for the four remaining districts - it will be established through the development process. Design innovation and quality is important and needs to be balanced with deliverability, affordability, and maintainability. The outputs of the DRF will be more relevant here – e.g. as projects like the proposed cap over the motorway (project from the Sauchiehall DRF) are taken forward, design innovation and quality will be a key focus of the process, along with the other factors mentioned above.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
We have currently 52 expressions of interest for this tender (several days before the closing date) so the opportunity is certainly attractive to big, small, local and international firms. What is key for us is deliverability. It’s really easy to produce glossy documents that look great and sound great and have wonderful ideas - but the hard bit is turning those ideas into practice. So if the design team work with us in that way - ensuring the proposals are deliverable, fundable, and responsive to a range of strategic priorities – then the higher chance that proposals such as the motorway cap, transformation of the city centre road network, the riverside regeneration etc, will actually be delivered.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
The Block C Avenues contract is due to be issued to the market in early 2020 - this will be the third major public realm contract for the Avenues programme. Subject to the full award of construction funding, we expect to progress a contract for a further four new Avenues, probably next year.
The outcomes of all the DRFs need to be progressed, and we are currently exploring opportunities to bundle some of the proposals from the DRFs 2-5 (Broomielaw, Blythswood, Central and St Enoch) contractually. Various masterplans are being proposed, not in the traditional sense (as GCC no longer owns any significant land or property in the city centre), but offering great placemaking opportunity, for example in the Tradeston, Broomielaw and St Enoch districts.
In short, there will be many opportunities for design support in the next five years. The new City Centre Strategy 2020-25 is currently in development, and will lay out the priorities for the period going forward. It is likely to go public consultation in early 2020.
Are there any other inner city regeneration masterplan projects you have been impressed by?
I like Manchester’s approach – key being strong unified leadership and clear strategic objectives. No specific regeneration masterplans – just the general regeneration approach.