Saturday, August 27, 2005

Glasgow Public Buildings

The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center

A sad and savage victim of European bureaucratic architectural brutalism, the SECC looks good when photographed from the south bank of the Clyde, but is about as unfriendly to humans as any public building I have ever been in. Full of corridors that dead end without warning, signage that excels at creating confusion as the primary experience of place, and a hard surface to sound ratio that must be heard to be believed. Some sections of this structure cannot be accessed from other sections without first exiting the building, walking through mud filled parking areas and re-entering, often on a different level, to reach a room purportedly on the same level one had just left. An amazingly ill designed bit of European Union Redevelopment Folly.
Glasgow Central Station

A wonderful industrial Victorian space filled with art noveau metalwork and a vivid sense of place and time.

Glasgow University

The beautiful and moving Victorian main building sits amid a great green just west of Kelvingrove.

Glasgow Science Center

This museum to the love of science is full of great hands-on activities that give children of all ages delight. The wonderful great curves of the exterior contain a wonderfully functional interior.

Opposite the SECC on the banks of the Clyde, it is also opposite the SECC in its success as a public building. This is the very essence of what a public space should be.

Glasgow Cathedral

Another marvelous Glaswegian stone structure.

1 comment:

Jim Carroll said...

Dear Handdrummer,
I've returned to your blog and am very impressed as well as in total agreement about the SECC. Yes, it is hard to explain how they managed to conceive or birth such a thing. The only possible excuse would the euphoria that possessed Glasgow in the wake of the year spent being "European City of Culture" and concommitant Garden Festival held on the site occupied by said SECC.
Your views of Glasgow University seem taken with affection for the place, which pleases me as I remember it fondly although from a distance now. Your comment on Glasgow Central Station is spot on.
The space underneath the station seen clearly in your photo is called in Glasgow "The Heilanman's Umbrella" (Highlander's Umbrella) as it was where the northerners were known to shelter prior to meeting friends. This you possibly know, but just in case.
Yes, most definitely I will gladly return. For the moment I think I'll read on. Think I can see some interesting thoughts further down,