Clydebank Civic Heart
West Dunbartonshire Council
5 Hall St, Clydebank
A tangled circulation is combed straight, and opened to the sky
The original Category B listed buildings housed some fantastic main spaces however the circulation through narrow corridors was disorientating and un-welcoming. The public entrance was re-focused onto Hall Street and with internal ‘stripping away’ at ground level new generous foyer spaces and legible circulation created. Rejuvenated by natural top light these routes provide space for the Museum to expand and a new build gallery extension overlooks a newly landscaped garden on the site of a former dilapidated baths building.
Clydebank Rebuilt ran a number of design forums for the local community and elected members during the initial stages of the project and Page\Park played a key role in these sessions.
Through these workshops an approach to the interior spaces was developed. The overall strategy was to maintain the original characters of the main spaces, but to transform the ‘in between spaces’ into attractive new foyers which act to orientate the visitor.
The Lesser Hall becomes a freestanding box wrapped in timber to which the new foyers link. The foyers themselves are treated as simple planes of colour and each foyer has a focus relating to the heritage of Clydebank – model ships built in former John Brown’s shipyard or life at the former Singer sewing machine factory.
The statue of Mercury, has been safely relocated within the tall foyer, but with a view to his former home on top of the tower.
Bespoke signage, also based on the Singer motif, further assists orientation.
The Town Hall, designed by James Miller in 1900 incorporated a variety of uses: from the ‘assembly’ halls of the Main and Lesser Halls, the lecture hall, Council Chambers and District Court and police station. Although the ‘Civic Heart’ project involved a degree of necessary fabric repair works to the Category B listed buildings, the predominant focus was on creative conservation to re-invigorate the existing complex. A separate supplementary roofing contract was undertaken by West Dunbartonshire Council.
Noticeable in the original designs is a variation in style between the lavishly decorated Municipal Buildings entrance on Dumbarton Road, and the more naturalistic entrance on Hall Street and prompted the refocusing of the main entrance of the new complex, away from the heavily trafficked Dumbarton Road, onto Hall street.
Clydebank had seen a resurgence with the Masterplanning of the riverside areas overseen by Clydebank Rebuilt. The main focus of the Masterplan remains to re-connect the town centre to the riverside. The consolidation of a central ‘heart’ to the town centre, linking core retail functions to a revitalised mixed use river frontage is key to the regeneration strategy for the town. The Town Hall is another completed piece in the jigsaw, which will hopefully help stimulate the masterplan vision of a new Civic, Cultural and Residential Quarter focused around the Town Hall. If the new north – south street pattern can be realised this will lead to a residential community located on the south facing riverbank with a series of new streets which link into the existing street structures of the town.