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Glasgow Housing Association, Maxwell Drive

Glasgow Housing Association, Maxwell Drive

We have been selected to be on the framework of architects to work for the Glasgow Housing Association, (the GHA). This project was the larger of two feasibility studies and the movie describes the study across both sites concluding with Maxwell Drive. (For the other project follow this link (click here). The site consists of some deck-access slab blocks of flats connected to each other with aerial walkways in two T-shape plans and a row of slabs along maxweel Drive itself. They had replaced an area of middle class villa housing in the 1970’s and indeed immediately to the south such housing survives. The flats have major technical problems of water ingress, acoustic intrusion and condensation and have been re-roofed once already. The most bizarre aspect to their design is the section where each flat, for reasons that today can only be guessed at, has an internal change of half a level across the centre of the plan. The maisonette flats in particular have as a consequence some of the most tortuous planning imaginable and none of then have disabled access. A large area of publically accessible open grass with trees dating from the time of the villas sits in the centre of the site and to the north is the busy arterial road of St Andrews Drive. A small supermarket and some local shops were also required to be incorporated into the proposals.

It was considered too expensive and politically impossible to demolish all the blocks. With those that remained, our objectives were therefore to abolish the deck access, to give many reconfigured flats external independent access and private gardens with a direct traditional address onto a street. The section shows how this was achieved using external staircases and reducing the overall height of the block. Filling in the gaps produced a long terrace of flats and maisonettes which would have restored Maxwell Drive to a road of linked villas. The change of level was exploited to produce ground floor two storey houses to the north with private gardens.

The two t-shaped blocks we proposed to demolish and the remainder of the site was accessed by new north-south roads and developed as linked courtyard housing with external staircases very much modelled on the successful project at Moore street for Molendiar Park housing association on the east side of the city. Here we showed how these could be combined to make a street or halved to make a corner block. The supermarket and shops were placed along the west edge of the site so that it could be accessible and visible from both residents entering the site by car and to passing cars on St Andrews Drive.

The project has been abandoned.

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