Are these the ten best buildings in Glasgow?

Such is the richness of Glasgow’s architecture, it is almost impossible to choose its finest buildings. . . but we know a man who can as Ann Wallace reveals

Asking Niall Murphy to choose the “best” building in Glasgow gives him an impossible task, he says. The Glasgow City Heritage Trust Deputy Director (right) explains: ‘My favorite changes on a weekly basis – there are so many fantastic buildings in Glasgow that it’s hard to pin down.
Glasgow City Heritage Trust is a charity which distributes nearly £1million each year to help people protect, repair and promote the city’s historic buildings and places. Here, Niall lists his 10 favorite Glasgow buildings.


1. Glasgow Central Station
71 Gordon Street
“My favorite space in Glasgow because it’s so atmospheric,” says Niall. “I love how the huge, no-frills roof trusses leap across the concourse, and how they contrast with the delicate, classic wood-covered pods that glide and squeeze into the concourse space, encouraging passengers to sink in. like water to trains. Designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand Anderson, this is by far the best public space in Glasgow, even though it is covered.

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
2. Charing Cross Mansions
2-30 St. George Road;
540-6 Sauchiehall Street;
357-9 Renfrew Street
“This elaborate and grand red sandstone edifice is the pinnacle of building in Scotland,” says Niall. “Here Sir John James Burnet takes the main elevation of the Hotel de Ville in Paris and, in a self-assured display of panache, adapts it to the curve of Charing Cross while adhering to the love of Glasgow for the oriel bay window. It would be even better with the original restored windows.

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
3. The Athenaeum Theater
179 Buchanan Street
“Glasgow was once so wealthy that it spawned two styles of architecture,” says Niall. “Everyone knows the Glasgow Style, led by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, but this building, built between 1891 and 1893 according to plans by Sir John James Burnet and his partner John Archibald Campbell, marks the birth of Glasgow Baroque, prompting copies throughout central Scotland.Belt.It is a synthesis of fashionable London styles combined with Glasgow’s love of Michelangelo sculpture.

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
4. The Cenotaph
George Square
“The design of Glasgow’s war dead memorial must have been entrusted to the city’s foremost architect at the time, Sir John James Burnet,” says Niall. “It’s a tough site, risking being overwhelmed by the magnificent backdrop of the unrelenting City Chambers. Burnet opted for a moment of peace and classic restraint with a very understated design displaying his understanding of the best of French and American neoclassicism. The beatific statue of St Mungo blessing this sacred space while nestled in its baldacchino is a particularly memorable note.

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
5. Corinthian
191 Ingram Street
Corinthian is a complex hybrid building involving several leading Glasgow architects. The main elevation overlooking Rue Ingram is by Sir John James Burnet, who, aged 19, has just returned from his training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. If you have a Thoroughbred in the stables, you want to take it out for a ride. So his dad, John Burnet Snr, lets his son go wild on that and his talent shows.

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
6. Scotland Street School
225 Scotland Street
“To see the twin stair turrets of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Scotland Street School lit by a Glasgow sunset is to witness joy,” says Niall. “The glass is fine as a soap bubble and the stone carefully sculpted. This building is a lesson in “less is more”. One of Glasgow’s architectural highlights is sadly stuck in a wasteland of sites and car parks, and desperately needs its cityscape back.

7. Glasgow School of Art
167 Renfrew Street
“Despite the fires that destroyed it, Mackintosh’s masterpiece is still one of the best in Glasgow and the world,” says Niall. “It needs to be restored. It shows how Mackintosh’s idiosyncratic style has evolved over time. For his east elevation he selected ideas from a range of influential Arts & Crafts architects, but by the time he returned a decade later for the west he was absolutely his own man, and this is seen in his ruthless handling of the library’s soaring oriel bay windows (one of the great architectural spaces of the 20th century) and his almost cloth-like handling of the stone draped around the basement’s west entrance. .

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
8. The Hatrack
142a & 144 rue Saint-Vincent
“Although the great Glasgow style architect James Salmon Jr always considered the nearby Mercantile Chambers his masterpiece, I think it’s safe to say that everyone in Glasgow thinks it’s The Hatrack “, says Niall. “Glasgow comes closest to full-throated European Art Nouveau. The winding plastic stone is full of quirky details and symbols, with winged angels nestled behind curious trees and small temples containing cityscapes and dragons. The roofscape, which I assume is meant to be a patriotic prickly thistle, is the reason for the nickname. Above the entrance, leaning on a dragon’s head, is a domed bay of stained glass depicting the ships of the Battle of St Vincent – the reference to the street’s name – by the great Glasgow glass artist, Oscar Paterson.

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
9. Govanhill Baths
99 Calder Street
“Glasgow is a city of municipal socialism with a strong working-class culture and Govanhill Baths, the largest Edwardian bath complex in the city, is where it all comes together,” says Niall. “Built between 1914 and 1917, it is a building full of stories and the site of the longest occupation of a civic building in British history. Given its classic red sandstone appearance, one would think that it was built in a traditional way, in fact, behind the stone skin, the structure and the pools are of reinforced concrete – an intensely modern form of construction for this period, but also usable.
“It makes it a very Glasgow building, because all of this intense modernity is geared towards meeting needs and increasing the city’s working population.”

Glasgow Central Station was designed by James Miller and Robert Rowand AndersonGetty Images
10. City Rooms
80 George Square/20 John Street
“The City Chambers by Paisley-born architect William Young, built between 1883 and 1889, are thoroughly Glaswegian as it is about the Victorian city’s love of display,” says Niall. ‘With its vast budget it was meant to revive the city’s economy after the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878. It is encrusted with lavish Venetian Renaissance detail.
“Across John Street, the last extension of 1913-29, by architects Watson, Salmond and Gray, is more austere and monumental with its giant Ionic columns. It is impossible to imagine John Street without the twin triumphal arches and their crests beautifully carved containing Glasgow’s coat of arms and, as befits a major port, the prows of ships.

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