Glasgow takes building double first

They are two towering monuments of glass, their ambitiously modern design sitting cheek by jowl with some of Scotland's most traditional architecture.

Yesterday they helped cement Glasgow's reputation for producing leading buildings.

At a ceremony in Edinburgh, St Aloysius College's Clavius building, described as "big, tough, unmistakably Glasgow", won the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland award. Elder and Cannon Architects were awarded a £25,000 cheque along with the prize, recognised as one of the UK's most prestigious architecture awards.

That was followed by plaudits for Glasgow University's Wolfson Medical Centre, which picked up the building award at the British Construction Industry Awards in London.

Both were praised for designs that provided an "inspirational" setting for educational work.
The Clavius building, which stands next to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art in Garnethill, was completed in 2002 as part of St Aloysius's expansion.

The four-storey maths, science, and technology centre was found to have incorporated a modernist design into a traditional setting, despite restrictions of space and a "tight" budget.

Gordon Murray, president of the RIAS and chair of the judging panel, said: "This building is a bold, contemporary insertion as an end terrace to tenements in a conservation area.

"It is an unmistakably Glasgow building: big and tough, though full of humanity. It admirably demonstrates how traditional concerns about the integrity of the city can be married to modernist concerns about movement, gathering, and an engagement with view and light."

Mr Murray contrasted the Clavius building favourably with the government's controversial PFI and PPP procurement programme, which he said had led to a reduction in quality of schools being built in Scotland.

"As a consequence of bulk-buying, no-one is doing one-off schools. There has been a dilution of quality because of it," Mr Murray said.

Dick Cannon, the partner responsible for the Clavius buildings, added: "I think it proves it is legitimate to have a modern building which is knitted into a conservation setting."

The Wolfson medical building, a tall steel and glass structure near Byres Road in Glasgow's west end, was completed in 2002 at a cost of £11.7m. The BCIA judges described the building as an "unpretentious, one off, well-considered building establishing a distinctive landmark for the medical school's new centre of excellence".

A third award was given to nearby Oran Mor, a derelict church at the top of Byres Road that was converted into a complex of bars, restaurants and entertainment spaces in June this year.
It was given the Inspiration award at the Scottish Licensed Trade News Awards 2004 ceremony in Glasgow for its application of "innovative thinking".

600450 Glasgow takes building double first

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