The project lies within the Maryhill area of Glasgow and is known locally as ‘the botany’ or ‘the butney’. Positioned to the North of the Maryhill Locks, part of the Forth and Clyde Canal, the site sits mostly on a west-facing slope and is bounded by Whitelaw Street, Glencloy Street, Lochgilp Street and Cowal Street. On the West side of Lochgilp Street lies a parkland, Dawsholm Park, which forms a strong green corridor for the River Kelvin.
The project for Client/Developer Bigg Regeneration, a partnership between Scottish Canals and the Igloo Regeneration Fund, was principally for the creation and build of a new ‘private affordable’ terrace housing development.
The basis of the project forms Phase 3 to a wider residential led mixed-use regeneration, and transformational, development scheme formed around the historic area of Maryhill Locks and River Kelvin in the west end of Glasgow. The project creates forty number units with a mixture of two, three and four bed terrace family homes.
The brief, first and foremost, was to work within an existing development masterplan. A tight budget required careful consideration and this prioritised the need early to consider efficient means of construction, offsite timber closed panel manufacturing, off the shelf systems and, while working hard with these products and materials, a focus to find extra layers of detail and function.
As a starting point to the project we looked broader at the fabric of Glasgow. Glasgow is characterised in many places by a rational urban grid laid over existing natural topography. To many areas relief is given to this rigid structure through the hierarchical composition of different street typologies. Wide tree lined streets are often supported by lanes, pends and courts. Much of the city is punctuated with a generous proportion of public squares and parks formed by a legacy of Victorian expansion.
At Maryhill, the site is bounded by an existing street layout which formally enclosed a tenemental block. To the street, we proposed to retain a tree lined street hierarchy with front gardens, off street parking and with the ‘back court’ areas to the rear creating private garden space, semi-private and casual amenity, refuse storage and shared spaces opening up to the park beyond.
Glasgow owes much of its form and character to its river, canals and industry. Industry on this scale demanded growth and development of the city in the form of places of industry, worker’s housings and importantly areas of recreation. Much of this ‘public’ infrastructure is still visible in Maryhill today.
The skyline of Glasgow reveals much about the city’s urban form and planning logic. Historically, a low lying layer of tenements, terraces and urban blocks are often punctuated by spires and towers of stone. Latterly, symbols of industry added iconic steel forms to this composition. Today, the skyline of Glasgow includes, the historic, the industrial, and the modern.
Over the course of the project a number of consultations were initiated with key stakeholders, local businesses, the local school and community groups through the development of the framework plan. Through the comprehensive consultation process the proposals evolved into a unique solution to a challenging brief, site, and on a tight budget.
The architectural proposals for Maryhill developed as a series of simple, robust 2/3 storey blocks, domestic in scale, with a multiple narrative from traditional west end terrace housing typology to European canal house.
Conceived as a building with a clear language, materiality of the terraces was developed as a simple but robust palette of brick with a family of precast concrete pieces and decorative metalwork used to articulate thresholds and openings. The houses, familiar in form, were deliberately designed so that they share features that unite the terrace block together. This was achieved through the singular duo pitch repeating form of the building, the use of materials and the simple architectural detail.
Early design consideration was given to creating an appropriate scale and environment for living whilst importantly allowing the scheme to be commercially viable. To create a sense of diversity across the long façade and street, the fenestration has been staggered and the brick colour changed between black and white to give distinction and a stronger sense of individuality between each dwelling. Equally by staggering the brick colour this immediately offered a greater sense of verticality and an enhanced the sense of rhythm along the entire street.
Formally the scheme has been set out as linear terraces with expressive and ends or gables. The two, three and four bedroom units have been developed to a similar construction and plan type to offer repetition and flexibility of typology mix and the three and four-bedroom house types make use of an inhabited roof space. The sloping topography of the site allowed for large picture windows to be set out to take advantage of panoramic views over the River Kelvin Glasgow’s West End and beyond. Internally our attitude to interiors was consciously pared back to primarily a white and monochrome aesthetic. However, the addition of a focused series of birch wood linings, screens, edge profiles and furniture pieces offered a subtle refinement and sense of warmth to the overall interiors. Spatially the focus of the project was in providing well-sized rooms within the constraints of the narrow plan layout. Although compact in plan and volume large floor to ceiling height windows, doorways and balconies enhanced the overall sense of openness throughout the house.
To mitigate commercial risk, the Client/Developer procured the project build as a two phase construction development focusing on an energy efficient means of delivery. The construction of the terrace blocks was principally formed as a timber cassette closed panel system manufactured completely with pre-installed installation. The envelope, clad by concrete facing bricks, was the chosen material for its robustness, an appropriateness as residential use while equally mindfully being considerate of the surrounding context. Pre-cast elements, deep reveals and generous windows reinforced a sense of solidity and permanence to its composition. The wider palette, particularly with regards to the metalwork balconies and screens, offers a greater but subtle sense of decoration to the blocks.
This phase of the masterplan seeked to reuse derelict and vacant land within the inner urban area of Glasgow to create a speculative for sale and start up residential development as part of a wider masterplan while improving access, permeability and activity within the area which long-term will help secure the regeneration of this area of Maryhill for the future.
Schedule of Accommodation
Development of 40 new dwellings comprising:
• 20 - 2 Bed Terraced Dwellings
• 17 - 3 Bed Terraced Dwellings
• 3 - 4 Bed Terraced Dwellings
Unit Type Areas
• 2 Bed Terrace – 65 m2
• 3 Bed Terrace (Type 1) – 80 m2
• 3 Bed Terrace (Type 2) – 80 m2
• 4 Bed Terrace – 95 m2