WITH Glasgow City Council putting the George Square redevelopment plans on hold, now is a good time to reconsider the budget of £15 million ("Council expected to ditch designs for George Square", The Herald, January 18).
A sympathetic design featuring trees, grass and seating could cost a fraction of that, and would be straightforward to complete in time for the Commonwealth Games.
How about using the balance to help restore buildings in public spaces around the city? One example, owned by the council, is the Winter Gardens in Springburn Park. The A-listed glasshouse, built in 1900, escaped demolition in 1985 and is described on the Buildings At Risk register as being in a ruinous state and at critical risk. It is situated at the heart of a 2014 Games hub park and near an area set for regeneration in tandem with the bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. In the wake of the scandalous demolition of the B-listed Springburn Public Halls, perhaps now is the time to consider bringing one of the few remaining historic buildings in north Glasgow back to life for use by the whole of the local community.
12 Ashvale Crescent, Springburn.
Historically, a square was a place to gather citizens and disseminate information or instructions to them. A useful metaphor would be to compare a square to a theatre, in which the stage itself is a relatively plain surface to accommodate many functions. The character and visual attraction is gained from the surrounding scenery.
In the case of George Square, perhaps the surrounding architectural environment should receive greater consideration. This, together with possible – though difficult – vehicular traffic control, would be of greater value than the ubiquitous designers' view of adding grass, trees and a water feature and hoping for the best. That is surely the poorer solution, in both cost and spirit.
To those who might be involved in this project, I would suggest a tour of any Italian city by whatever means available, whether in person or remotely. It would serve to help the mind focus on a solution worthy of Glasgow's architectural heritage.
Andrew C Traub,
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