Can a tall narrow building on a tight city centre site have an economically viable future that is essential to its survival (and therefore its conservation)? Without this, the ultimate result would have been its loss, despite a Category ‘A’ listing and its significance in the early career of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A building which was derelict for 12 years is not conserved by ‘stuffing’ it with the services and the means of circulation required to achieve compliance and functionality.
Following a thorough analysis and understanding of the conception of the original architect, we evolved a major new structure, with elements derived from and relating to the original. This provides vertical access and drama while releasing the original spaces for gallery, restaurant, conference suite, shop and related uses. The insertion of a contemporary, suspended spiral staircase in the existing tower demonstrates a creative sensitivity to the stone structure and also allows the visitor to appreciate a new rooftop perspective of the city.
Opened as Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City, this project was conservation in action, ensuring retention of the original, facilitating access and appreciation whilst contributing positively to the economy and culture of Glasgow.