Glasgow skyline

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As part of Glasgow Doors Open Day many buildings in the city let the public access areas which are usually off limits. I booked my friend and I on a tour of the City of Glasgow College building (formerly Glasgow College of Building and Printing) which basically just comprised half an hour on the roof.

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But this was the view so we weren’t complaining! Looking south across George Square with City Chambers on the left.

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One of the other college buildings with the background dominated by the Townhead tenements.

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And finally looking north with Queen Street station, Buchanan Galleries, the tallest cinema in Europe (Cineworld on Renfrew Street) and the tenements at Cowcaddens.

Disclaimer: these are phone pics so not the best quality – but still a brilliant view!

Clyde Valley and Kennishead

Kennishead Flats W

Had a lovely wander about Rouken Glen Park yesterday with friends. First time I’ve been to the park since I was about 6 or 7 years old! Some lovely views from the the golf course out across the Clyde valley, with the Kennishead flats in the middle distance and the west end of the Campsie Fells beyond that. More pictures of Rouken Glen to follow. 

Gorbals High Rise

Gorbals High Rise

Another pic from my wandering down by the Clyde the other night. This time in colour, I couldn’t resist with that beautiful purple sky. The weather might be grey 90% of the time during this part of the year, but when the colours do come out it’s worth it.

The flats across the river

Clyde flats b&w

Some more of Glasgow’s high rise flats, although this time ones that are here to stay for the foreseeable future. These flats sit on the South side of the River Clyde opposite Glasgow Green in an area known as the Gorbals. The chimney to the left is the Gorbals brewery, one of may in the city.

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.

The Bluevale & Whitevale Towers (Camlachie Towers)

Whitevale

Whitevale tower block

I’ve been meaning to post these pictures of the Bluevale & Whitevale Towers for weeks, so here’s me finally getting round to it!

I love these buildings. I’m a big fan of Brutalist architecture, which is just as well because Glasgow is absolutely full of it. These two tower blocks, known as Glasgow’s ‘Twin Towers’, dominate the East End skyline. Not only are they visually very interesting, especially since they look like twin games of concrete Jenga, but also because they are the tallest buildings in Scotland at 89 metres (they just miss out on being the tallest inhabitable because their 30th floors are used for drying and maintenance, according to Wikipedia. There are also taller structures, however the definition between a building and a structure varies – as some clover person on the internet put it: a building is always a structure, but a structure is not always a building…).

Sadly due to repair costs and tenant dissatisfaction and the general bad rep that comes with most Glasgow tower blocks the two structures are due t be demolished in coming years. Shame really, but that’s change.

 

Glasgow's Twin Towers

Bluevale (right) and Whitevale from across the railway in Dennistoun, East End of Glasgow

Bluevale

Bluevale tower block with Whitevale on the left

Taken with my Nikon D3100 and edited in Photoshop CS5

 

 

Weekly Photo Dump – 7/9/13

I take a lot of pictures with my phone on a weekly basis and don’t tend to do much with most of them, so I’ve decided to do a weekly phone camera ‘photo dump’ post. I say weekly but I’m not going to be too strict about when the pics were taken, or on what day I put the post out. Likewise, there probably isn’t going to be much of a theme, just the stuff that catches my eye day to day.

Here are this weeks, with a brief description. All taken with a Samsung Galaxy S4 and edited in Snapseed or with the phone’s built in editing functions.

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The Forth and Clyde Canal, Possil looking towards Maryhill.

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Forth and Clyde Canal, Ruchill/Possilpark.

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Old railway footpath adjacent to the canal, Maryhill.

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St Enoch Subway station, City Centre.

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Brutalist bypass over the Forth and Clyde canal, Kirkintilloch.

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And, randomly, some bikes in the West End.

There you go!

Maryhill High Rise

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Maryhill covers a large area in Glasgow’s North West, and there are several sets of high rise flats dotted around. This block on St George’s Road makes up a set of three, which are some of the most distinctive in Glasgow because of their interesting blue abd red patterning. Many of the high rise flats in Glasgow are currently being renovated, inside and out. While that is obviously a positive thing, I’m glad they havent got round2 to changing nth exterior of these blocks yet, I quite like a bit of colour, especially when it’s several blocks up into the Glasgow skyline.

Seldom Seen #6: Woodville Airms

The Woodville Airms in Ibrox

This photograph shows the Woodville Airms bar, as well as the now unoccupied high rise flats on Summertown Road/Broomloan Road in Ibrox, Glasgow. The area itself is situated very close to Ibrox Stadium and borders with the Govan area of Glasgow and has a history of sectarian violence between Protestants and Catholics as well as other social problems, partly due to the decline in shipbuilding on the Clyde. The area is close to the now mostly derelict Govan shipyards, and there are several run down industrial buildings near by. Until recently the area had several more high rise flats, as well as sprawling estates of semi-detached social housing. However, three of the existing high rise flats in the area (one of which my uncle used to live in) have already been demolished, and the remaining three are currently in the process of being torn down.

The bar in the picture, previously known as the Albion Bar, is somewhat notorious for being a pub used by Rangers fans, given its close proximity to the stadium. The bar closed around the same time as the flats were vacated, and has been disused since. Although I haven’t personally been inside there are several entrances into the building which can be seen from the street, so I imagine the building is being used by some people, although for which purpose I’m not sure.

The reason I chose this photograph for the exhibition is that unlike the others this is a site which the local council and others are paying attention to. In general the area is a good example of what can be achieved through new developments of old urban environments which run counter to overcoming social problems as well as how the refurbishment of old buildings, which are often architecturally important in their own right, can be used by the community, instead of being left to decay.

Several new social housing developments have now been completed in the area as part of a wider programme of urban regeneration by Glasgow City Council, The Scottish Government and several other local councils acting together as the Clyde Waterfront Partnership. Several other community projects are ongoing as part oft his regeneration and already there seem to be some positive impacts, with several community run arts projects and social enterprise projects showing success. One example is the old Govan Town Hall, not far from where this picture was taken, which is now being occupied by creative organisations such as the Glasgow Film City, a centre for community media production and training.

This limited edition one-off A2 framed print is available to buy for £100 ono. Please get in touch if interested – 07757897097 or hello@kieranhamilton.org