Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The Changing Face of Glasgow 2021. New Buildings Part Two.

                                                   ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.

The biggest visible change in Glasgow City Centre is the redevelopment of the old run down Tradeston District, replaced in part by this impressive monolithic construction project on the River Clyde waterfront. The Barclays Bank Complex. They had just started it when the Covid 19 pandemic took hold but it's almost finished now... this part of it at least.

Side on view here. It's a massive structure which, according to reports, will bring up to 2,500 new jobs to the city.  What got me excited though was the artists impression of what the surroundings will look like with sculpted pathways, green spaces, cycle tracks and seating along the river frontage. Hopefully I'll be walking or cycling there soon. 

 At the moment it's boarded off but by the looks of it trees and shrubs have already been planted out. New buildings in my home city excite me as any city or town has to balance what old buildings to keep and which ones to replace in a constant juggling act of progress and regeneration. The higher towers might be residential as online reports indicate a mix of business and social and even sky gardens in some designs. For anyone interested you can see further images by typing in Barclays Bank Building. Kingston. Glasgow.

The cycletrack/walkway I was following however was on the other side of the river and a km further on took me to here where an attractive period suspension bridge straddles the river frontage.  This side has not changed since the 1970s  and as it's the city centre equivalent of waste ground (with seating) it can be where people sometimes congregate as it's away from the hubbub and surveillance watchfulness of the nearby busy shopping streets yet within easy walking distance from them. 

 I have to confess I was a bit surprised at how graffiti strewn it has become since my last visit a couple of years ago but probably, due to the pandemic, many city centre districts have resembled ghost towns over the last year- much quieter than normal. Although there's artistic skill in some of the better work here the overall mish mash makes it a bit of an eyesore for the image of a modern city and visitors arriving here.

 What it used to look a decade ago. Just one main mural- and a good one at that. Also note the two buildings and the spaces either side....

 New buildings underway on both sides of the original pair.

 The other side of the waterfront suspension bridge. Apparently this side will undergo a radical transformation as well to match the Barclays Bank side sometime in the near future. At the moment it resembles a building site in places with several new buildings going up here.

Although this one... Virgin Hotels... seems to have stalled somewhat as it's not much more advanced since the last time I observed it. Obviously hospitality was a hard hit industry due to the pandemic so maybe funds have dried up temporarily. Being the afternoon it was quite busy along here with several groups of youngsters hanging around. I didn't therefore and made my way up to the financial district. It was not an area I wanted to be lingering around in as it wasn't hostile as such but I got the feeling it could easily turn that way and not a place I wanted to be visiting when darkness fell. Visually and in reality a city of the have and have nots discovered on this journey, often coexisting side by side though not mixing - like the rest of the UK in general. Mind you, from my own experience, the carbon footprint of the genuine have nots is usually tiny as lacking funds to do anything they do not buy or throw away much. My own paw print is minuscule without even thinking about it or making any effort at all. Make everyone very poor again and save the we need to level down people. Build back to the 1950s when it was make do or mend, food was rationed, everything was recycled, repaired or kept, anything bought was definitely needed and any limited luxuries came at Christmas. That's my solution for COP 26 Glasgow....  :o)

The rain cloud that had been with me since Partick finally moved on upriver and the sun came out again.

 Up on Argyle Street another new building appears to have stalled....

I seem to recall this concrete support pillar looked much the same two years ago...

Banks and offices meanwhile have bigger budgets to play with. Morgan Stanley building here  which was just completed in the last year or so and a brand new building behind still in progress with cranes up.

 It's quite hard to see the roof of this building from street level but this partial view intrigued me with it's oval summit terrace so I looked it up. Apparently it's the largest new office building in Scotland, predicted to generate £2.8 billion for the Scottish economy with a private viewing terrace and running track on the roof for employees as a perk. I won't link to it but for those interested type in WWW. Home 177 Bothwell Street. Glasgow. to get a short virtual tour, including the roof. A different world! Love to see that rooftop view but no chance of that in reality.

 Other buildings that caught my eye in this district... some are new... others have been refurbished recently like this one. In a fast changing and highly competitive world offices and computers are lucky to last 10 years before they are deemed obsolete so facelifts for buildings, in and out, are common.

Luckily, the City Centre itself doesn't change much. Spires in George Square here...

 Old red sandstone period buildings that give Glasgow it's distinctive look from it's Victorian past.

The Beresford. A Glasgow period icon.

 Whereas, with new glass and steel buildings, nice though this is, sometimes it's hard to tell if it's new, refurbished... or not?

For example... 310 St Vincent Street... Recently refurbished... I'm sure it used to have a blacker look/ black glass effect, last time I noticed it. More like the Eagle Building a couple of blocks away.

Church Spire. St Vincent Street.  At least you know where you are with buildings that stay the same for several centuries.

 The Thomson Church with Scotland's largest new office building and presumably Scotland's highest running track? in the background. Glad to see the Pinnacle building still looks slightly higher from this angle, the higher floors hopefully retaining their stunning views.

Hilton Hotel. Anderston District. Fantastic views here I'd imagine. No other buildings in the way and panoramas up and down the River Clyde and surrounding suburbia to the far horizon. Well placed for maximum impact for guests.



Glasgow's up and down city centre streets. Fairly level running west to east... up and down like this one when running south to north. Made the mistake of cycling down here and it was still slick with rain water so my back wheel fish tailed alarmingly at the bottom and I thought I was an ex blogger. Very lucky not to have a serious fall. Always an adventure on a bike.  

 Marriott and Hilton Hotels from St Vincent's Plaza.

 Sentinel Building. Waterloo Street area. Very colourful window display at night if I recall.

 Scottish Power Building. Don't remember blue and red here last time.

 The trusty metal steed looking towards Charing Cross. Of all the sports I've tried- rock climbing, summer and winter mountaineering, kayaking, caving, etc, etc... cycling is by far the most dangerous as anything can occur without warning on a bike... traffic attacking you... people, dogs, kids, cows, horses, other bikes, suddenly diving straight in front of you without warning or any logical reason... grit, sand, gravel, mud, wet leaves, water. ice... potholes, tram tracks, stanks, raised or sunken objects....all equally determined to bring you down... and it always hurts! 

Marriott Hotel at Anderston. Good views here as well. Anyone counting overall number of hotel rooms so far in Glasgow within these two posts?.... and that's only a fraction of the total available.

 Moda Living development near Pitt Street. Another major new project of luxury apartments from a company with similar developments in most major UK cities. I often wonder where all the rich folk come from to buy these properties but I suppose you can sell a modest house in London and live like a king or queen up here. Also, if you have spare cash available you can become a private landlord, buy up two or more houses/flats/ apartments and rent them out either to tenants or online B and Bs. The great council house sell off of 40 years ago where everyone supposedly had the right to buy their own home, while it benefited many with the means to get a property has also meant a dire shortage of new affordable homes for younger generations without wealth plus some folk sitting with a large portfolio, including ex council houses, for rent to those less well off. Watched a programme a while ago now with several enterprising teenagers/20 somethings buying up houses in deprived council districts ( they lived elsewhere) to then rent to local people ( presumably said teens were bank rolled by wealthy parents with a million or two to spare.) Although it's perfectly legal that just felt a bit wrong somehow but then that's life. It never is fair, especially for the base of the pyramid.


Apparently this is what it's going to look like when completed.

A view of Glasgow's leafy suburbia from the business and financial district. The running track view will be even better as it's ten levels higher than this

.Santander building. Notable for it's green roof terraces.

 St Vincent's Plaza. The 310 building featured earlier, seen above.

The Eagle Building, an old favourite of the modern group of glass and steel towers but with more character and elegant lines than most. Now refurbished but still in black, hence the new name.

And a personal favourite of mine for many decades. Still the jewel in the crown. One of the first prominent towers in this area from the swinging 1960s and originally seen from many miles away on its hilltop prime position. I could see it from my house growing up. Standing unique and alone with its distinctive rooftop panels. The old habitat building now called The Pinnacle. Refurbished a while ago into residential flats, office, and retail space but it retains its certain style on Bothwell Street despite being squeezed on all sides by younger upstarts. A building that still commands attention.

The other tall city centre tower from that era. Livingstone Tower I presume, built mid 1960s and still part of the University of Strathclyde. At almost 200 feet another great view over the city and surroundings for those lucky enough to see it.

The Anderston Centre. Argyle Street.  The End.


Carol said...

so is the Virgin Hotel stuffed full of virgins - or is that virgin on the unlikely! ;-)

Still prefer the old, traditional buildings - never been a fan of modern ones.

Must have been terrible to be just starting a large build project and then getting hit by the pandemic - you have to feel sorry for them.

Rosemary said...

I much prefer the red sandstone buildings to those that are grey - they bring a depth of warmth into the area. At one time I lived in a red sandstone building in Clarence Drive in Hyndland.

Anabel Marsh said...

I remember that tiger, which I think was then replaced by another tiger looking at you face on. Or maybe that was before. Anyway, better than what is there now. Not sure what I think of all these developments. I suppose because they are all very commercial they might bring in prosperity.

blueskyscotland said...

I would not like to say Carol. Funnily enough, that was the main building I was cycling in to see as it was the nearest to finishing pre- pandemic with the Barclays building just starting.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary, Yes, I hope they keep them. Although many are listed buildings they are becoming obsolete and some of the less celebrated ones have been lying empty for years.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Yes, it was that walking tiger mural then the large tiger face a few years later, both of which I liked.

Andy said...

I love the contrast between old and new. I have to admit that I have a liking for glass fronted skyscraper towers even thought I hate what they represent (large finance houses catering to the wealthy and privileged).
When I was in Rome I found out that many of their historic roman buildings were plundered for their materials to make something else. It sounds like sacrilege but the view of the time was that it was just the natural order of things, the old making way for and helping to create the new. A different take on urban regeneration.

Robert Craig said...

>>It was not an area I wanted to be lingering around in as it wasn't hostile as such but I got the feeling it could easily turn that way and not a place I wanted to be visiting when darkness fell.

Wise choice - that's the red light district, or at least it was many years ago!

Always good to see Glasgow centre - it's been far too long since I last had a poke around my home town.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Andy,
I do like them as well and a small part of me wishes for even taller skyscrapers, like London has now, but that's probably not economically viable for Scotland. Architecture wise, that one of the great things about more modern cities in America, China, or Australia in that they often have or had a blank canvas to build a complete city, block after block, brand new, whereas with European cities they have just a few new buildings shoehorned in between the old style to play with.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi R.C.
That was not the reason for not lingering around. It was just fairly boisterous with teenagers and 20 somethings hanging around, I did get propositioned twice but not in that way... more along the lines of " that's a nice bike- give me a shot on it' while being very aware it was worth £100/200 pounds resold, no questioned asked by the new owner.