Glasgow Dental Hospital



Via Wikipedia:

The Glasgow Dental Hospital and School is a dental teaching hospital, situated in the Garnethill area of the city centre of Glasgow, Scotland. Dental students have been educated in Glasgow since 1879, and the Dental School began issuing the Bachelor of Dental Surgery Degree of the University of Glasgow in 1948. The current hospital is based in a 1931 Art Deco building on Renfrew Street. Designed by Wylie, Wright, and Wylie, is protected as a category B listed building. There is also a larger extension fronting Sauchiehall Street built in the brutalist style by Melville Dundas & Whitson in 1970. The West of Scotland Postgraduate Dental Centre is located adjacent to the Dental School and provides post-graduate and distance dental education.

Kelvingrove Museum


The main hall of Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, mid September 2016 (click for larger image)

Kelvingrove museum is one of my favourite places in Glasgow. It’s always worth a visit if you’re in the area, even if just for a few minutes to grab a coffee and soak up the stunning architecture around you. I had no idea, but apparently the museum building is based on Italian palaces in the Italian baroque style, which I see now that its been pointed out. I also wasn’t aware (thanks Wikipedia) that Kelvingrove is the second most visited museum in the UK outside London and the most visited attraction in Scotland. And no wonder! the place is beautiful and the exhibits are amazing.

One of the things I love the most about Kelvingrove, like many of the museums and galleries in Scotland, is that it is free to the public. This isn’t because of the generosity of some rich collection owner, but because all the art in Kelvingrove is owned by and on behalf of the people of Glasgow. That’s right – if you live in Glasgow you own that art, so go and enjoy it! (if you’re that way inclined). I’m as working class as they come, but after learning about my joint-owned art collection I took a day out to admire the paintings.

I’m a big fan of Salvador Dali, and have been since I was younger. I was totally unaware that his painting¬†Christ of St. John on the Cross¬†(click the link to see the painting)¬†was part of the Kelvingrove art collection. I’m not religious at all but this is one of my favourite paintings. It’s unlike any of his other paintings and Dali wasn’t religious himself, so the painting’s contents are out of character for him – at the time he was better known for artsy surrealist films and a slew of weird advertising appearances. I love the perspective Dali uses in the painting; this is just my interpretation, but by placing the viewer above Christ, looking down on him as he looks down upon the world, Dali seems to be speaking to the man-made nature of religion. Specifically, I think he’s pointing out that man created Jesus and therefore man is God, and that’s why the viewer (‘man’) is placed above Jesus in the painting. Just my interpretation, of course, and I’m definitely no art expert.

On an unrelated note,¬†I’ve been doing a lot of black and white photography lately. The problem I always find with this is that I start building an unconscious bias to black and white and forget about colour altogether, then I always get to a point where I’m stuck with indecision about which to use. This is definitely one of those situations… Black and white or colour?

More pictures of Kelvingrove to come…

Black and white or colour? (click for larger image)

The Lighthouse – where the gallery is the art

Macintosh’s water tower dominates the centre of the open plan building, with light pouring in from above.

I’m one of these weirdos that goes to art galleries and takes just as much interest in the gallery itself – the architecture, its history, ¬†– as the exhibitions themselves. The Lighthouse, situated in Glasgow’s Mitchell Lane (and by ‘situated’ I actually mean quite well hidden), adjoins the former Herald Building designed by the famous Charles Rennie Macintosh. the building serves as Scotland’s centre for architecture and design, and houses Creative Scotland offices, among others.¬†The Lighthouse is currently hosting several exhibits as part of the 2016 Festival of Architecture and Design, including the fantastic Macintosh Interpretation centre, which I have a post coming up on.

The central atrium – a mixture of materials, lighting and historical styles

I can and do spend hours at a time in the Lighthouse, and I’m never disappointed with new exhibitions or events (they regularly hold lecturers around various topics, including hosting several successful Glasgow Centre for Population Health talks in the past – I was there, they were very good). I think I spent about 3 hours in there yesterday, as there was some stuff I didn’t realise was on – I was mainly there for the John Maher exhibition, but I’ll post about that later. for this post I want to focus on the architecture of The Lighthouse itself; specifically the modern design elements of the building that date from the late 90s when the building was first opened after laying empty for 15 years as the former headquarters of the Glasgow Herald newspaper – the main part of the gallery is actually formed from the old back stores of the herald building, and was never meant to be seen by the public.

Lighthouse4W Lighthouse6W

The modern interior is a stunning combination of converging lines, glass and both natural and artificial light that is at once both intimate and open. The building has been designed in such a way as to allow the light to filter in at certain points and illuminate across several levels of the building, with an interesting mix of materials providing the interior with an almost futuristic look – including some of the original brickwork and windows from the Macintosh designed element of the building – but one which also reminds you of the building materials from days gone by, reflecting the myriad architectural styles and building materials that can be seen across the city’s buildings and structures. That’s about all the architectural language I know (not much, I realise) so I’ll stop trying to describe the building and let the photographs speak for themselves.


the copper used in the main atrium – usually on the outside of buildings – reminds you of all the copper domes of the same colour dotted throughout the city

I would highly recommend a visit to The Lighthouse if you are visiting Glasgow, or even if you are local to the area. The exhibitions are updated regularly, and I’d imagine it’s a great day out with the family – and it’s free!

More info on The Lighthouse can be found here here. Current exhibitions are part of the Festival of Architecture and Design, about which more information can be found here.


The British Museum



I recently had to go down to London for some of my work, but unlike the usual work visits to cities for a conference where all you see is the inside of a conference centre I managed a few hours walking about.

These are a few camera phone pictures of the British Museum. I’d wanted to see this building for a while, so was pretty happy to get a quick wander round. I’ll have to go and give it a few hours next time; the place is huge.

I went with the black and white because it brings out the structure more, but also because a glass roof apparently gives a a nasty green/blue tinge to everything…

One thing I will say, and maybe I’m too much of a cynic, but considering it’s called the British Museum, it mainly seemed to contain items that the British had stolen from other countries, presumably ex-colonies. Hmm.

Dubious sources aside, I would recommend a visit, I’ll certainly be going back for a better look at what’s on show. The building alone is worth going to see, so all the interesting exhibits and items inside are a bonus as far as I’m concerned.

The last pic is a little dodgy, since it’s the result of a panoramic shot from my phone, but I thought I’d include it anyway to show off the building (you can see ghosting on the ceiling, but never mind!).

I wasn’t a huge fan of London before this visit, but I think I might have changed my mind. I was taken in by London’s charm, what can I say! That said, I still prefer Glasgow in all it’s gritty loveliness. I enjoyed my trip to London but I was more than glad to be back home and on the couch. There truly is no place like home I suppose.






Mitchell Library Glasgow



This is the Mitchell Library, a literal literary Glasgow institution, and basically my ‘office’ for when I can’t be bothered heading over to the university in Paisley for work. I love the Mitchell.



I took these photos with my new (second-hand) phone, the Samsung S4 Zoom. I previously had the S4 then sadly managed to break it and had resorted to a borrowed iPhone for a while. The camera on the S4 is quite impressive, but with 10x zoom, 16 megapixels and even a little hole.o screw in a mini tripod I am really impressed with the S4 Zoom. Combined with Snapseed, I’m getting some great pics.

After you…

Nursing Home Stairs W

One of my friend and colleagues recently discovered an abandoned nursing home close to our place of work, so we managed to take an afternoon to explore it for a while. There was some truly beautiful architecture, including stain glass windows in many parts of the building and several sets of staircases with ornate bannisters. The building was huge, so I think it’ll need a second exploration at some point…


St Magnus Cathedral

Kirkwall Cathedral II W

Kirkwall Cathedral A couple of pics from a recent trip to Orkney. This is St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. It was very busy with¬†tourists (myself included), many of whom had came from a massive cruise ship dock outside Kirkwall Harbour. It was difficult to get shots without any people in them, especially since I had to use a tripod. I think these ones turned out not bad, though. The first is probably a bit over-the-top in terms of HDR processing, but I couldn’t resist with the amazing textures in the stonework.

“St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall dominates the skyline of Kirkwall, the main town of Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of

mainland Scotland. It is the most northerly cathedral in the British Isles, a fine example of Romanesque architecture built for the bishops of Orkney when the islands were ruled by the Norse Earls of Orkney. It is owned not by the church, but by the burgh of Kirkwall as a result of an act of King James III of Scotland following Orkney’s annexation by the Scottish Crown in 1468. It has its own dungeon.

Its construction commenced in 1137 and it was added to over the next three hundred years. The first Bishop was William the Old, and the diocese was under the authority of the Archbishop of Nidaros in Norway. It was for Bishop William that the nearby Bishop’s Palace was built.

Before the Reformation, the Cathedral was presided over by the Bishop of Orkney, whose seat was in Kirkwall. Today it is a parish church of the Church of Scotland.”

(Source: Wikepedia)














Kirkwall Cathedral III W

The Red Road flats – still hanging on

Red Road flats Glasgow

The last remaining inhabited block of the famous Red Road flats in North East Glasgow. The two block on the right middle back are empty, in the process of being cleared out and made ready for them to be demolished in a controlled explosion. Some of the flats have already been demolished in this way, along with many others in Glasgow, with many more to follow.

These types of housing estates were a 1960’s experiment in concrete, brutalist architecture and social housing. Unfortunately, although widely hailed as the solution to the housing issues which plagued the Glasgow tenement slums in the early 1900’s, this type of housing is now recognised for its own troubles, including the facilitation of crime and contributions to social exclusion, alongside a host of issues relating to the design and maintenance of these types of buildings. Glasgow Housing Association are in the process of building a new generation of social housing across the city, an ambitious project that will hopefully provide much needed social housing stock that has been depleted over the past couple of decades thanks to the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme of the Thatcher era and a failure of successive governments to develop more social housing as well as maintain what existing stock there is.

Despite the promise of new housing and the banishment of the old dilapidated flats and the social issues that come with them, I’m going to miss the high flats all over Glasgow. My uncle used to stay in the high flats at Ibrox (recently demolished) and I have fond memories of the views from the 19th floor across the City, to the Campsie Hills and beyond to Ben Lomond and the Highlands. For a young kid from a small coastal town these types of flats were awe inspiring, huge concrete monoliths that stretched for what seemed like miles into the sky, with people living in them (!). I’d imagine I’m not the only one. Not all of the high flats are going, though. Many are being refurbished and kept on alongside the new housing stock for the 21st century. Even then, the changes to the Glasgow skyline are going to be immense: at present you can look in any direction no matter where you are in Glasgow and see tall tenement buildings (they make good way points if you end up lost…). That wont be the case for much longer.

I’m in the process of trying to document as many of these types of flats before they are all gone, and have been on contact with Glasgow Housing Association to try and gain access to some of the buildings which have already been de-occupied. Hopefully I’ll have some more pictures of these brutalist beauties in the near future.