When fire spread through the three-storey building at the corner of Waterloo Street and Wellington Street in Glasgow three years ago more than 40 firefighters attended the scene. It was witnessed by thousands of commuters as they made their way to work. Unfortunately the properties could not be saved and they were consequently demolished.
Since then there has been a great deal of activity going on in the background to put plans in place to rebuild and Keppie Design were instrumental in acquiring planning permission for the necessary reconstruction.
Passers-by will be aware of a great deal of activity at this site in recent months as the building process swings into action. Glasgow-based company of architects and surveyors, CRGP will be attending to the architecture, project management and quantity surveying and Colin Dair, a director, said: “Our clients are the eight co-proprietors of the property and it will be a like for like rebuild. The only change is a retail shop on the corner instead of a pub. The floors above will house offices as before. The building design is an acceptable reinstatement with stone frontage and it empathises with adjacent properties.”
It will in fact take the same footprint and approximate height as before but aesthetically the elevations are very different from the existing building. James Munro, an architect with CRGP has been closely involved with this project: “We were tasked with reinstating the original building functions – retail, public house and offices,” he said.
“Our aim was to position each of the eight co-proprietors in a similar location within the building as they had before, however, with the addition on the floor plan of a second escape stair, lift and additional toilet facilities that are now required by current regulations it was not easy to give back each owner their floor area as calculated from the existing deeds.
“To satisfy this requirement we had to create an additional floor so what was once a three-storey building became a four-storey building. This clearly impacted on the elevation but it gave the designers an opportunity to link visually with the adjacent Waterloo Chambers building.
“It was agreed with the design team and the planners that Locharbriggs sandstone obtained from the same quarry as the adjacent Waterloo Chambers building should be used, this modern use of a familiar city-centre material works well.”
The contractor started work on the site towards the end of last year and it is anticipated that handover will take place in mid-December with the public house opening in time for Christmas trade.
There have been challenges in the £4m project such as working around the existing basement retaining wall and in a tight city centre location. However, despite the difficulties with deliveries and ageing services such as power and drainage the project is moving along smoothly.