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AJ Architecture Awards 2018: Public Building of the Year

Barmulloch Residents Centre by Collective Architecture is the AJ Architecture Awards 2018 Public Building of the Year

‘A cursory glance might dismiss this building as quite ordinary, but it is actually quite extraordinary,’ said the judges, who described this new community centre in a deprived Glasgow neighbourhood as ‘practical, robust, appropriate and designed to last; a building which engenders pride without gentrifying the area’. The architects have massaged every angle of the brief with spatial dexterity, resulting in an efficient plan with flexible, overlapping uses on a tight site. A sophisticated section provides extra volume just where it is needed. 

Clad in local sandstone that sits comfortably in its context, a glulam structure encloses a welcoming light-filled interior. The open plan means that there is no sense of surveillance from reception. The building is at once ‘humble and extremely aspirational’, according to the judges: an exemplar of public money well spent. 

Environmental issues have been carefully considered, down to the selection of local materials with low embedded carbon and minimal maintenance requirements. Rooflights flood the interior with daylight and can be manually operated for natural ventilation. A well-sealed envelope creates a comfortable interior in Glasgow’s tough climate.

‘All in all,’ said one judge, ‘a subtle, honest winner; no detail has been overlooked.’ 


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