Register: OCT/04/2019, Submit: OCT/04/2019, Eligibility: Everyone, architects, students, Fee: 15 GBP (Pound sterling) (MAY/12 – JUL/12/2019), 25 GBP (JUL/13 – OCT/04/2019), Awards: Winner: 500 GBP, Commendations: 100 GBP
The Alexander Thomson Society are inviting designers from around the world to develop ideas for the adaptive re-use of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s Egyptian Halls in Glasgow, Scotland. The objective of the completion is to invite innovative, imaginative and purposeful design solutions for the reuse of the A-listed Egyptian Halls, a warehouse building completed in 1872 on Union Street, Glasgow by the celebrated, nineteenth-century architect Alexander Thomson (1817-1875). Union Street is one of the Glasgow’s busiest commercial thoroughfares, a major route extending from Renfield Street south over Jamaica bridge and the River Clyde, channelling vehicles, pedestrians and numerous bus routes to the southern districts of city. Opposite the building is Central Station, the daily point of arrival and departure point for thousands of commuters as well as being the nationally and internationally linked rail terminus, the gateway to and from the south. To the east Buchanan Street daily attracts throngs of people, shoppers and street entertainments.
Despite its Category A listing, the majority of the building has effectively lain dormant for the last 40 years and, although structurally sound, has suffered damage through water ingress and lack of adequate or appropriate maintenance. A number of proposals have been developed for the building over the years, but none have been successfully delivered. Currently the Union Street façade is screened by a full height scaffold, extended across the pavement width and enveloped above in a protective sheath of fabric displaying an image of the upper façade. Whilst the upper levels are vacant, the ground floor shops, although occupied, suffer as does the entire street from the deleterious effects of decay and lack of occupancy. There is little doubt that the reuse and restoration of the Egyptian Halls would contribute greatly to the regeneration of Union Street and its environs.
There is an urgent imperative to the competition and serious ideas are needed to raise the profile of the building’s predicament which is of increasing concern to, not only the Society but other conservation and heritage groups and the city council. The Society invites entrants to generate concepts for alternative uses for the Egyptian Halls and as such wants to provide little limits to entrants creativity. The conditions applied to the competition are as follows:
- There is no access to the interior and entrants are requested to respect this condition
- The Union Street façade and the rear facade to the lane must be retained and restoration assumed
- The internal cast iron structure may be retained or adjusted as a matter of judgement
- Roof top additions are to respect the appearance of the building from the street