A Glasgow City Council committee has today (7 March) considered the design statements now established for the George Square and surrounding Avenues project.
The project has now completed RIBA Phase 2 in its design, and as work on the design process continues, further consultation with key stakeholders - including local businesses - will take place, as will the detailed investigation of key features.
These features include high-quality stone throughout the Square; informal 'play' areas for children in sensory gardens in the eastern areas; a proposed water feature; a raised lawn platform; bespoke sheltered seating; and feature lighting.
The design for the eastern part of the Square responds to the formality of the City Chambers and of the Cenotaph; and a further raised green area has been proposed in front of the Cenotaph.
The design for the western part of the Square introduces an area for cafes to spill out, as well as a generous paved area for events (which may include a water feature).
The key design statements for George Square, which will be developed into design principles at the start of RIBA Stage 3, propose that the final design will:
· Respect vistas, whilst enhancing the views towards key architectural features
· Enhance the North-South axis
· Protect and extend greenery, including raingardens.
· Recognise that the edge of the public space is defined by the line of the buildings surrounding the Square
· Recognise that the edge of the Square is defined by the east-west corridors (West George Street and St Vincent Street)
· Respond to the institutional character of the eastern area of the Square in front of the City Chambers
· Respond to the non-institutional character of the western area of the Square
· Respect the central east west axis in the Square (City Chambers - Cenotaph - Sir Walter Scott Memorial Column)
The redesign of George Square is being delivered alongside with the surrounding Avenues over two phases. The first phase will see George Square, John Street, Hanover and Miller Street, a section of North Hanover Street and Cochrane Street commencing construction in 2024 with completion due in 2026. The second phase of construction - at St Vincent Street, George Street, Dundas Street and Dundas Lane - will be completed in 2028.
The scheme is part of the wider £115million Avenues project - a network of new, attractive, accessible, safe, sustainable and easily-maintained routes throughout the city centre that are people-focused, encourage active travel and are more attractive to residents, workers, visitors and investors. The project is funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.
Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "The latest stage of the design process for George Square and the surrounding Avenues shows the proposals for the Square. These proposals include more details on proposals for key features that will reflect the character and uses of the Square, Glasgow's greatest civic space."
Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said: "The Avenues programme is redesigning the city's streets to make them more inviting for people while prioritising space for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport. "George Square is a gathering place for visitors, workers and residents of Glasgow to admire its architecture, relax and take in its history or make use of local businesses. It is right that George Square is a part of this transformation. I welcome this progress towards the sensitive redevelopment of one of the city's focal points as part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal."
UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, said: "It's exciting to hear that plans to transform George Square and the surrounding streets are progressing and incorporating the views of local businesses. This will help to revitalise the city centre by creating eco-friendly travel routes and building attractive public spaces to bring visitors, businesses and investment to the area. The UK Government is investing £50million in Glasgow's most iconic public spaces as part of our £523m support for the Glasgow City Region Deal."
Celia Guerreiro, Associate, John McAslan + Partners, said: "As designers we feel privileged to be involved in such a significant project that will see the transformation of Glasgow public realm to become a green city accessible to all. Sustainability and response to climate change were strong drivers of our brief, alongside a fundamental commitment to community engagement and dialogue, informing the process of design and involving extended public consultation. We are looking forward to seeing the benefits that this will bring to Glasgow."
The Glasgow City Region City Deal will see both governments provide £500million of funding for infrastructure projects.
More information on the Avenues programme - the biggest of its kind in the UK - is available at: https://www.glasgowcitycentrestrategy.com/project/avenues.