Monday, 19 April 2010

Castlemilk Stables - another win...

News hot off Twitter... Castlemilk Stables, Architect: Tom Connolly of Elder and Cannon (and David Hamilton* for the original building)  is the winner of the inaugural Scottish Civic Trust 'My Place' Awards:

Gallery of all entrants, with pics; congratulations to all, for although there could only be one overall winner, the projects nominated by local communities are all superb. It is particularly heartwarming to note how many historic buildings are treasured and, no matter how poor a condition into which they are allowed to deteriorate (and see my previous post for a little history of another worthy contender, Edinburgh's Infirmary Street Baths, Dovecot Studios/ Malcolm Fraser Architects, which I gather came 2nd with a High Commendation
there is hope, and a will to succeed. So much of the rescue of historic buildings is based on philanthropy and untold hours of time by volunteers, campaigning, fundraising. At times the odds seem so stacked against you, but there are exemplar projects on the list which bring pride to local communities, and show both the standard which can be achieved of repair/restoration/re-use and the excellence of many architectural practices working in Scotland.

Castlemilk Stables: gallery

The Scottish Civic Trust's My Place Awards is a unique new award scheme supported by the Scottish Government, that celebrates good local design and conservation as judged by local people. A panel of four industry experts are presently judging projects as diverse as a restored suspension bridge in Aberdeen and a regenerated public baths in Edinburgh. Entries have been received from across the country; from Arran in the West, throughout the Central Belt including Glasgow, Bo'ness and Edinburgh, to Banff in the North -East. There's plenty of diversity and many skills are on display.

In this, its first year, a Scottish Civic Trust My Place Award will be presented to the project that contributes most positively to local place-making. Chairing the judging panel, Angus Kerr, architect and trustee of the Scottish Civic Trust, said "that the panel's aim is to celebrate a project that has had a positive impact and offered additional benefits in a local community." He is joined by fellow trustee Alistair Scott, director of architects Smith Scott Mullan Associates, Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive, Planning Aid for Scotland and Donnie Munro, who trained in fine art and, after huge success as Runrig's lead singer in the 80s and early 90s, is now Director of Development at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college in Sleat, Skye. The judges are looking for creativity, imagination, originality and innovation.

The Scottish Civic Trust's My Place Award 2010 will be presented at a ceremony in The Lighthouse, Glasgow on Monday 19 April 2010.

As the Supporting Statement has it:

The building is a Georgian Stable Block and the only surviving remnant of a historic country estate. It was first built around 1750 and provided a magnificent landmark situated on high ground with an impressive octagonal tower topped with a dome. It is Category B-Listed, a fine example of its kind and unique in the area. The original Castlemilk House of the estate was demolished in the 1960s. Although the Stable Block survived, by 1994 it was empty and had become damaged by fire and was a building at risk.

The people of Castlemilk Housing Estate, mounted a 10 year long campaign to save the building and give it a sustainable re-use. A feasibility study identified the local housing association as an end user that would use the principal space as offices and lettable office accommodation which would in turn provide income for community uses and maintenance of the building. To be viable we needed to increase the usable floor area whilst avoiding compromising the architectural integrity of the building. Our organisation purchased the building, assembled the design team and raised the funding with our partners (in excess of £4m from a total of 26 agencies and charitable organisations), then oversaw the specialist work in terms of the careful repair and restoration of the listed fabric and the delivery of the re-use of this local landmark.


Completed in July 2007 and handed over to the community this project is situated in an area of multiple deprivation on the periphery of Glasgow. The vision came from the community who were intent on saving a derelict 18th century Stable Block in the heart of their area; this is a community inspired project. Our organisation Glasgow Building Preservation Trust (GBPT), a charitable trust, entered into partnership with Cassiltoun Housing Association, to meet the aspirations of the community to restore the building and retain it for community ownership with a long term sustainable use.

Architect: Elder and Cannon, Tom Connolly

Building User's View

The conservation led restoration, started in 2005 and completed in July 2007, was placed in the hands of Elder and Cannon, the Glasgow-based award winning architects. They worked to find a way of restoring the historic fabric of the Category B Listed building and at the same time give it the new floor area required for a viable social enterprise. The answer has been to sensitively conserve and repair the external elevations very much as they were, and add a simple glass and steel cloister and inner foyer which allow the original fabric to be viewed whilst enabling the creation of a modern multi-use space.

The main contractor for this project was Chard Construction who are increasingly involved in working on historic buildings and building up a strength of specialist expertise. This complex restoration project required traditionally skilled stone masons, lead workers and slaters with specialist skills and knowledge in working with traditional materials. GBPT’s strict conservation philosophy was applied throughout the project. GBPT aspires to best practice in architectural conservation, informed by the principals embodied the conservation policies and practises formulated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites, in particular the Venice and Burra Charters. Articles 1 and 5 of the Venice Charter in particular relate to fundamental objectives of GBPT in terms of providing, where possible, a socially useful purpose to ensure long-term sustainability of the building and its place and wider urban setting.

“After a hard day travelling round Scotland, looking at a whole series of fine buildings, on entering the restored stables block, the immediate impression was - this is a totally different order of building, controlled, superbly spatially manipulated, poetic, it’s architecture of the highest order.

The fine Georgian building renovated to provide a historical sense of place for the surrounding community, melded with stunning contemporary construction providing a social focus for local organisations and a lively day nursery, all built round a wonderfully peaceful courtyard which encourages a host of temporary local functions.”

Professor Andrew MacMillan

Building Owner's View:

Since the completion of the rescue and restoration of this beautiful community building it has become the centre of local activity. It represents our community’s sense of place and captures our civic pride in what the community has achieved. Attracting now thousands of visitors, it has given us confidence and the aspiration to do more ”

Charlie Millar of Cassiltoun Trust
The Castlemilk Fireplace.This fireplace was created in 1794. It depicts the Battle Of Orleans- 1429, where two Stuart brothers perished. It stands 15ft high and was rescued during the demolition of Castlemilk House in 1969. It was returned to Castlemilk in the early 2000's were it was housed in the CEDA building. It now has pride of place in the recently refurbished Castlemilk Stables.

That adds to a number of other awards, including the RIAS Best Building in Scotland Andrew Doolan Award 2008:

Judges' Citation: This late eighteenth century stable block, whose original architect has recently been confirmed as David Hamilton, survived demolition in the 1970’s because it was serving as a store for workmen’s tools, by the 1990’s it lay in a ruinious condition, its roofscape virtually completely collapsed.

The intervention of the local community, in particular Cassiltoun Housing Association working alongside Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, determined that this last great building of historic Castlemilk must survive. However, its restoration to the skillful designs of Elder and Cannon has not been about preserving the building in aspic as a museum piece but about creating a lively community focus, with offices for the housing association, other local organisations and a pre-fives nursery.

This project has been a catalyst to other positive development in the area and has already become a cultural and leisure hub. The stable block’s sustainable energy programme has also received significant praise. This is a building infused with a real feeling of joy.

For more information about Elder & Cannon Architects please visit:

and the Georgian Group 'Best Re-use of a Georgian Building' award  2007

The stables are 1750, the only surviving remnant of Castlemilk House. They were empty by 1994, fire-damaged and at risk. All things considered, the prospects for survival were seriously bleak. This is a comparatively deprived part of Glasgow with more than its fair share of social and other problems. But there is a strong community spirit, carefully fostered, and that in the end saved the building. After a ten-year local campaign to preserve it and find it a new use, it is now a beacon at the centre of a housing estate and serves as a home for various community facilities.

For much of the day it is now alive with clearly very happy nursery school children. There are small touches that demonstrate attention to detail. We were impressed that the rough stone of the stables was left uncovered on the walls of the nursery corridors, so that young children could feel its texture. The internal spaces and the beautifully restored stable courtyard are commendably free of clutter.

This has been a victory against significant odds. Local attachment to the historic stables shines through. Notably, the building has suffered no vandalism or graffiti since it was restored. The civilising power of fine buildings kept in good order is evident here as elsewhere.

Further information and thumbnail pictures here (click to enlarge):

Doors Open Day information:

A great deal more information and many pictures here, the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust's own website:

Conservation, adaptation  and re-use - it makes sense!

*David Hamilton:

"....The painting of Hamilton by Saxon shows a rather dandified young man, but the later one by Macnee is of a friendly old man with a mischievous grin. It is this kindly, humorous, fatherly figure that his apprentices remembered, treated, as they were, as part of the family in the old-fashioned, office-house. This was the training ground for many of Glasgow's Victorian architects - Charles Wilson and J. T. Rochead are names that spring immediately to mind; and it was Hamilton's example that enabled them and their colleagues to maintain such a high standard. He died on December 5th 1843, the most loved and revered of all Glasgow's architects. From his stature and influence, David Hamilton can fairly be called the father of Glasgow architecture."  "

A collection of the surviving drawings of David Hamilton is held at the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow University


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1 comment:

Macky said...

it's so nice to see these types of buildings in a modern world