IT WAS the winter of 1972 when I arrived in Glasgow. To someone from "down south" it was a forbidding place – the stonework black with soot; shipyards, coal mines and iron and steel plants closing while indiscriminate demolition levelled tenement housing and architectural masterpieces like the magnificent arches of St Enoch’s station. With my family I fled to the Ayrshire countryside.

As the chief executive officer of the planning exchange, an organisation devoted to improving planning and urban regeneration, I understood the central role that architecture plays in everyone’s lives. We all look at and use buildings and with good design that can be a pleasurable experience.

The commute from Ayrshire was becoming wearisome and I began to look more closely at the city and the transformation that was taking place. Roofs were mended and soot scraped to reveal beautiful blond and warm red sandstone buildings set in distinctive neighbourhoods, harmonious in style.

We deserted Ayrshire and moved to Dowanhill, a move that has confirmed my appreciation and interest in Glasgow city.

Fast forward many years and I was about to celebrate a significant birthday. Many of my old friends from the south of England would be coming and probably having all the usual misconceptions about Glasgow.

How could I show them that Glasgow had been overlooked? Here is a magnificent Victorian and Edwardian city built on the wealth created by its position in the forefront of the industrial revolution and, sadly, earlier from slavery.

A city centre built on a grid pattern that crosses the hilly topography and sets its neighbourhoods amongst large and small verdant parks. It boasts many famous architects, not just Mackintosh and ‘Greek' Thomson but also John Honeyman, JJ Burnett, Charles Wilson and many others. I looked for a film that would explain and illustrate the beauty of Glasgow. But no such film existed and I decided that this was my retirement project.

"How can it be that Glasgow City of Culture and UK City of Architecture didn’t produce such a film", asked actor Bill Paterson who willingly agreed to be the narrator. Trained as a surveyor before he turned actor, Bill shares my love of Glasgow architecture. He and the innovative Production Attic company led by director Matthew Cowan were full of enthusiasm.

The film features many of my favourite buildings. Who could not be impressed by the opulent interior of the City Chambers, the grace of Moray Place, the wonderful symmetry of the facade of the Art School (before the fire) or the innovation of Princes Square?

But please could someone demolish the office block and bridge across the motorway that totally obscures the Mitchell Library? We have much to be proud of and celebrate in Glasgow’s heritage and A Symphony in Stone does this.

The film can be seen as part of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival tomorrow (Sunday September 22) at 3.30pm in the Garment Factory, 10 Montrose Street.