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To Live – Housing Development in Dennistoun

Part 1 Project 2013
Lewis Allan McNeil
University of Strathclyde Glasgow UK
The failure of 60’s and 70’s high-rise flats in Glasgow remain a bleak reminder of the shortcomings of post war social housing in Britain. With a keen intrigue into the failings of such a popular European housing typology, I took on the task of developing a tower that learns from the mistakes of the past, re-evaluating the tower block as a viable, cost-effective way of offering high density urban housing in Glasgow.

Designing a tower, one of the most loathed housing typologies in Glasgow, I took precedent from one of the most loved, The Victorian Tenement. Taking the centralised private courtyard and the potential for green and social spaces I combined these with the obvious positives of the tower block: views across the city, privacy to street level, high density and dwellings open to at least three sides. This generated the initial diagram for a housing hybrid as a tower with a courtyard, two separate housing elements separated by a central green, social space.

Breaking the massing down into two separate elements also aided another of the issue of scale with tower blocks. With the lower element, below the central courtyard, taking the line of the surrounding buildings and a more conservative architectural approach, it relates to it’s neighbouring context. The upper half is disconnected somewhat from the context through the central void, therefore is designed with a less constrained approach, as it has no context to relate to.

The lower half of the building was designed as a solid mass that would animate and unfold at different points of the day; a skin that comes alive as it’s used and inhabited. The upper half was more of a solid mass with erosions and a permeable corten steel skin that lights up at night. The corten cladding, with it being in keeping with the industrial theme of the initial master plan, also became a subtle homage to the traditional Glasgow building material of red sandstone.

Lewis Allan McNeil


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