On the 7th of July 2011, Blochairn Place was officially opened as a new development of 95 flats, 6 houses and an office. This was Glasgow’s largest housing regeneration project in 2010 and transforms a previously derelict corner of the North of Glasgow into a vibrant hub of activity with a play park in the centre and an office as a community hub. 30 percent of the homes are designated shared equity to provide much needed low cost housing for families in Glasgow.
The opening ceremony marked the end of a long struggle for the local residents. Dust and noise previously emanated from the site as a result of large scale industrial operations. This included the stockpiling of motorway waste asphalt, a function that was wholly inappropriate for the site given its location within the Blochairn community. Local people campaigned tirelessly for the release of the site so that the pollution would end and a new development could be built here as an extension to the northeastern edge of Blochairn.
Construction commenced in 2010 with an ambitious programme to complete as efficiently as possible within extremely tight economic constraints. Substantial technical challenges were overcome including extensive decontamination works, restrictions due to a busy railway line and heavy piling works to avoid a brick lined underground culvert traversing the site.
A key aspect of the development is the new office, prominently located on the corner with views over the courtyard and outwards to Royston Road, a major high street in the area. This is a base for the client who looks after 400 homes as a local landlord, providing a range of community services to support residents and local people.
“We are proud of the final product. It is exceptional in its design and construction. It is already a landmark for the local area. We hope that our new residents will be happy in their new homes.”
Galvanised gates mark the entrance to the office. These are intricately designed with the client’s name
mechanically cut into the panels and the text reversed so that it is legible whether the gates are opened or closed.
Galvanised steel was chosen as the main material. This was suitably robust and visually striking against the natural texture of the brick and the prepattenated copper canopy. The galvanized gates are successful in meeting the client’s aims; creating a high quality, distinctive entrance way as a focal point to the development. Another key feature is the seven storey wall of copper adorning the largest Block in the North.
Acting as a visual marker its provides a reference to the sites heritage as a railway depot for the ironworking and copper industries that previously thrived here.
The copper is prepattenated to improve weathering and has a distinctive aesthetic with the surface shimmering in daylight revealing hints of purple and gold. The natural variation of the copper is complemented by a clay tile rainscreen cladding system. This is precision engineered with clean lines and tonal colours and gives a feeling of quality.
The team worked with a professor of urban design at Strathclyde University to carefully plan out the development. Each building has a different scale with the lowest forms in the South, stepping upwards along the railway line to the highest point in the North. The central courtyard is south facing with colourful planting and good quality street furniture.
Despite the tough economic climate, the team has managed to complete this 5 months ahead of schedule and on budget. Families have now moved into the development and are making the most of their south facing gardens and balconies.
Images © Collective Architecture
See more examples of galvanized steel: