Back in 1999, I started up a website opposed to the nonsense that was being spouted about Glasgow 1999 UK City of Architecture and Design. For readers who missed it, here it is.
|Even more laughable than once being named European City of Culture, Glasgow is now posing as UK City of Architecture and Design 1999. Here are a few of the beautiful buildings that Glasgow has destroyed recently.|
|The monumental Gorbals blocks, built by Sir Basil Spence in 1962, transformed a hideous slum area of Glasgow into a work of art. Based on Le Corbusier's Unités d'Habitation, but with references to local tradition - drying greens in the sky, gothic pilotis - Sir Basil said that, on wash days, the blocks would look like 'a great ship in full sail'. What better for a once-great city with a proud reputation for ship building?|
| Sadly, with typical Glaswegian appreciation of culture,
vandals quickly got to work. Even more sadly, instead of tackling the vandals,
the city fathers in 1993 took the peculiar step of blowing up the buildings.
Since vandals are at work everywhere in Glasgow, can we expect soon to see
the entire city turned back into fields?
|Glasgow airport, also built by Sir Basil in 1966, was almost cathedral-like in its celebration of air travel, which was just becoming accessible to ordinary people. Indeed there are refences to his Coventry Cathedral as well as Sussex and Durham University projects - slender columns and cantilevered arched roofs were a trademark of Spence's artistic approach to architecture.|
|In 1991, it was wrecked by the airport authorities and is now covered in disgusting plastic cladding.|
|If you'd like to see how Glasgow architects might improve other beautiful buildings, click HERE.|
|Glasgow is going mad about Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Just how mad can be seen from these two photos. On the left is an old picture of one of his tearooms, most of which were destroyed in the 1960s. On the right is the only one left, which was 'restored' in 1979 as a Disneyland-on-acid parody of the original. (Please excuse the colour on this otherwise deliberately grey web page.)|
| It wasn't just his work that Glasgow destroyed.
Mackintosh, increasingly frustrated at his inability to influence the architectural
scene in Scotland, became bitter and resentful, turned to drink, moved to
London and died virtually penniless.
If you want a laugh, click on the modified - and misleadingly colourful - Glasgow 1999 logo. When you get to the site, pay careful attention to such phrases as 'the recognition of design excellence is inherent in its [Glasgow's] people, business and culture'.
[Sadly, this site seems to no longer exist. I've linked the logo to archives of the event which are held at the Glasgow School of Art.]
| I spent the first 25 years of my life in Glasgow. I love
the place. I love it for its muscular individuality, its sharp wit and its
heavy drinking. 'Culture' should be left to these big jessies in Edinburgh.
Interestingly, apart from the huge reaction to what I said about the Gorbals Blocks, no one seems to have objected to the central theme of the site.
As far as the City of Architecture itself is concerned, I haven't heard much since. Does Glasgow only pride itself on its architecture for one year, or am I missing something? Is anything interesting happening, or is it back to vandalism and destruction as usual? All information gratefully received.