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Graeme Nicholls reveals proposal for O-shaped Glasgow housing scheme

  • 21 Comments

Graeme Nicholls Architects has unveiled plans for an unusual 160-home residential scheme next to Glasgow’s Ibrox Stadium shaped like a broken ‘O’

Earmarked for a section of the Albion car park at Broomloan Road and Edmiston Drive, the project features a pair of matching, curved, four-storey tenement blocks.

The scheme, close to Rangers FC’s stadium, which is the emerging practice’s largest to date, is backed by Merchant Homes and has just gone out to public consultation.  

According to the architect, the proposal’s shape to is both ’sympathetic to and celebratory of, the history of the area’ and the former uses of the site, which includes a former greyhound stadium and training ground.

The consultation document reads: ’Historic maps show that the site contained a greyhound track with a ‘bowl’ footprint, which we think would be interesting to express in any new development. This plan form also fits the site really well.

’Our scheme also proposes a monochromatic colourway for the buildings, with their red hues matching the iconic Ibrox main stand.’

’[In terms of form] our proposal consists of two horseshoe-plan blocks built up of uniform brick bays featuring stacked windows with arched tops. This form alludes to both the formal consistency of historic tenement blocks found in Ibrox and also some architectural features typically associated with sports buildings and stadia.’

Last year Graeme Nicholls Architects’ Ashtree Road scheme in Glasgow took the prestigious Editor’s Choice accolade at the 2019 AJ Architecture Awards

A schedule of works for the Albion housing scheme is not yet known.

Grame nicholls merchant ibrox may 2020 plan

Grame nicholls merchant ibrox may 2020 plan

  • 21 Comments

Readers' comments (21)

  • So sorry to be pedantic, but the plan of this project is not shaped "like a broken O". Nor, as per the text, is it a case of "two horseshoe-plan blocks". Horseshoes have quite different, rather bowed plans. It's perfectly obvious that the plans of the two blocks are two Us, with their open ends facing eachother. And is there something snooty about the plan? If we borrow Nancy Mitford's terms for the distinction between the upper and middle classes in 1955, the plan of Graeme Nicholls scheme is very U indeed. Jay Merrick

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  • At last a housing project that brings to mind the scale and boldness of Glasgow's rich Victorian housing stock. It even squares up to "Ra Big Hoose" across the road. Dutch, Berlin housing too. Excellent. good luck with it.

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  • My best guess is that non-architects will think this looks like a prison block.

    Simon Gill

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  • My guess is that most rational, forward looking and those with positive intent will see its merits.

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  • Interesting - and, you never know, the acoustics within the oval might turn out to be even more interesting.

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  • I often would like to see more formal solutions instead of the mess which is much of today's housing, but would suggest that this scheme is too formal.
    Yes it would be a hard task to try and re-create any sense of urban fabric on this site, but not impossible.
    For me the form is too strict, and I would find it difficult to live there. Also I think neighbours might become too much in one's face (although likely they will all be Rangers supporters).
    Taking precedence from a pre-existing greyhound track and "Ra Big Hoose" is quite frankly silly. A better starting point might have been taking how a few blocks of Sauciehall Street (or better Buccleuch Street) could be made to work.

    Best of luck "going forward" with a very difficult site. I will make a note to go and look when it is finished.

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  • This degree of formality and rigour is absolutely what is required for this site. The reference to Ibrox is not about precedent and inspiration but for me a refusal to be intimidated or diminished by the hulking mass of Ra Big Hoose that has dominated Govan for over a century.

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  • Something else of interest - given that (as well as being architecture) it's tenements rather than a dog track - is the impact of the curved form on the internal planning (of which there is no hint).
    Wedge-shaped spaces can be far less awkward to furnish when they're large and not (presumably) fairly compact tenements.
    Perhaps it's time that IKEA started marketing 'snap-off' furniture for the masses that can be adjusted for awkward corners.

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  • That's true Robert and for a second there I thought we were commenting on architecture, at last, rather than the shenanigans of those at the RIBA. Until I read your last sentence. Hufeisensiedlung provides us a clue.

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  • Nice to see a project look at the history of the plot and area and allowing that to influence its design. The design itself also looks to provide plenty of outdoor space for the residents which is great to see, this virus lock down has shown the value of outside space and the dangers of small box apartments with no facilities

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  • Just a shame that there is so much car parking around half the perimeter and also in the middle of the plan.

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  • Excellent. Well done Graeme Nicholls.

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  • Is it going to make a good ruin?

    Yes.
    Tick!

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  • I would have hoped that much of the efforts of the twentieth century would have allowed us to move on from pattern making. Where a tenuous link to a irrelevant shape on a different location defeats simple rational thought regarding differences in orientation , daylight, and the creation of easily habitable spaces, I do despair.

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  • No need to despair, come to Glasgow and view our Victorian tenement housing. Remarkably, little attention given to orientation, sun path or setting context. It was the street that was more important. If you know the location here, you must know this is a clever response. If you don't, well your comment is not rational.

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  • Neave Brown will be turning in his grave.

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  • Daft thing to say Hamish, don't you think, without explaining why? It would be like me saying for Alexander Kirkland it would be a labour of love. Alexandra Road and the Dunboyne Estae would be as incongruous in Govan and on this site as this would be in Campden. Seems to me there are shared and compatible ideas, in this case a modern version of Glasgow's traditional housing stock, urbanism and context. But I'm no Neave Brown expert, but you obviously are.

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  • Interesting scheme, and I assume the central green space will be communal. However, some sort of balcony (whether recessed into the block) would have been a nice touch. Sometimes people just need a little privacy when enjoying a lazy weekend. Cem

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  • Only 'In terms of form' is there much to discuss here.
    In terms of people there's a remarkable lack of information - almost as if the form is the be-all and end-all, and the inhabitants are just incidental.
    Why are there no indications of the internal layout, no plans of the tenement apartments?
    Despite the elevational detail in 3/10 the overall appearance both inside the courtyard (1/10) and outside (2/10) is unrelieved repetition, and surely such a monotonous building is lacking in basic humanity, however strong the form..

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  • That's true Robert it would be good to see a floor plan. But what is a tenement other than repetition of street front elevation and form? Jack Coia's definition of Glasgow as wee men wi big widindows no longer applies floor to ceiling heights have reduced and I would imagine parking numbers for this area is set in planning regulations. I'm sure the architect would have non within the inner space if possible.

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