GLASGOW (UK) - In the muddled mediocrity that is much of the urban form between Glasgow and Edinburgh, architects Elder and Cannon have produced a piece of simple sophistication, and a study in how an extension, completely of its own time, can both enhance and extend the life of a building almost 100 years its senior.
The sober, classical Edwardian building had provided the Shettleston Co-operative Society with offices, a warehouse and a community hall since 1912. Refurbished by the Shettleston Housing Association as its offices in 1989, by 2000 it was already too small. Rather than move, the Housing Association recognized the importance of both the building and its community associations, and resolved to remodel it and extend into their car park.
The new building acknowledges the primacy of the old building by framing the two new floors of accommodation with a meticulously formed white concrete grid, which rises up to the eaves height of its old neighbour, enclosing a third-floor roof terrace. To the front the frame is divided into five sections, matching the vertical rhythm of the facade of the old building. The public enter the building between the new frame and the old building. Refurbishment of the old building retained much of the old fabric, but opened out each floor to create light-filled, glass-walled working spaces.
With a largely passive strategy for provision of light and ventilation, the services for the combined new and old buildings were rationalized. By restricting the new building to two storeys, the opportunity was taken to open up the south-facing top wall of the (higher) old building to bring light into the top floor. This is an example of high quality architecture carried out on a low budget, by an aspirational client with a strong commitment to the sustainability of their community in its broadest sense. (Andrew Guest)