Lion Chambers??

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Lion Chambers??

Postby Kirsty » Sun Mar 07, 2004 3:36 pm

At least I think that is the name of the building. It is near the Bridal shop at the top of Hope Street.

The Building has staues off men at each side, i think they may be judges??


Anyone have any idea what I am pratteling about??


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Postby crusty_bint » Sun Mar 07, 2004 5:34 pm

I do indeed Kirsty! I just noticed the other day the scaffolding's been removed after god knows how long! If I remeber corectly it was built as lawyers offices amongst other things and was one of the first buildings (in Scotland/UK?) to use reinforced concrete in its construction.

I'll need to do some checking for more info... maybe Ronnie'll help ::):
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Postby Ronnie » Sun Mar 07, 2004 5:39 pm

Hi Kirsty
Lion Chambers, at 172 Hope Street, was the second reinforced concrete building in Glasgow. It was designed by James Salmon II and John Gaff Gillespie, and built in 1904-07. The client was William G Black, a lawyer and member of the Glasgow Art Club, intended the offices for lawyers and the top floor for artists's studios. The statues you mention are pre-cast concrete judges' heads. (All this from "The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow", Penguin, 1990). Hope this helps.
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Postby crusty_bint » Sun Mar 07, 2004 11:27 pm

The Voice has spoken... told ya he'd help :D

Just to elaborate a wee bit, Salmon & Gillespie were both contemporaries of Mackintosh and sought to develop a Glasgow office skyscraper style, inspired not by America, but by the old "rough-cast castle" of the Scottish Rennaissance.

It was built using the experimental 'Hennebique' concrete frame and panel construction and in order to squeeze as much space out of the tiny plot it has very thin walls... hence the scaffoling thats been encasing it for twenty year!

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anyways... blah blah blah... u get the picture :wink:
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Postby Kirsty » Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:04 pm

Aww you lot are good damn good!!!

thanks again.


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Postby crusty_bint » Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:35 pm

Update:

I went up to Lion Chambers for a look the other day and noticed it's now encased in wire mesh. I'v since found out that this is to stop chunks of concrete falling off!!

The concrete (now 100 years old) has become chemically unstable due to carbon permeation from rain water and the bituminous build up that once covered the whole city and is now falling apart! To compound the problem futher the steel re-inforcement rods are now bared to the atmosphere causing them to rust and de-stabalise the concrete further.

There is a proposal to take down the north facade and rebuild it using a modern concrete which is chemically balanced but Historic Scotland won't allow it... so it sits there still... rotting away!!!
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Any Lion Chambers updates?

Postby Newurbanist13 » Thu Oct 20, 2005 8:03 pm

I was wondering about this building and whether it had survived - wonderful thing! Not a Glaswegian, but lived there in '94/95 on exchange from the USA at the Mack/GSA, and the building was threatened with demolition THEN - I recall Gavin Stamp trying to drum up resistance to its demolition at the time. So, the scaffolding is down, but chunks are still falling, eh?

Would love to hear any updates - interested purely as an outsider who's a great admirer of Glasgow's 19th/early 20th c. heritage, and utterly appalled at the neglect, malfeasance, and tide of naff Mockintosh it's all subsided into (argh!).
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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby tom clearwood » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:34 am

I've been photographing the interior of the Lion Chambers for the Four Acres Charitable Trust, who are exploring ways of bringing this building back into use. I was surprised at how good the condition of the structure seems to be, there's very little water inside, and very little evidence of damage to the concrete. It's a beautiful building...
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ceiling by tom clearwood, on Flickr
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going down to bath lane by tom clearwood, on Flickr
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engineering drawing by tom clearwood, on Flickr
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on a column by tom clearwood, on Flickr
there are plenty more pictures in this set on flickr...
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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby Josef » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:53 am

Hello, Tom. Fancy seeing you here.

From Scotcities:

"The ubiquitous concrete and steel structures of the present era go back as far as the 19th century in Glasgow.

Orient House in Cowcaddens, which was completed in 1895, is the best preserved Victorian example of the style. It was designed by William J Anderson, who was appointed as Dean of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art in 1894, during the building's construction. This was the time when the innovative ideas of Glasgow architects such as the young Charles Rennie Mackintosh were in their formative stages.

Anderson died in 1900, unaware of how popular his experimental methods of construction would turn out to be in the new century. It has been suggested that a fatal accident in 1899 in one of Anderson's unconventional structures was a contributory factor in his early death at his own hands.

Anderson's experimental construction methods were developed further by one of his former pupils, James Salmon, in the design of Lion Chambers on the east side of Hope Street.

Salmon and his partner, James. G. Gillespie, produced a modernistic building which was perhaps too ambitious for 1907 when it was completed. It was built with lightweight reinforced concrete with a conventional outward appearance which disguises the fact that the non-structural external walls are only 4 inches thick. From the 4th storey upwards the tower stands on its own without the support of the adjoining block. On these upper levels there are very small common landings leading to a narrow staircase, less than 6 feet wide, tagged on to the side of the building.

The structure was fabricated with the patented "Hennebique Ferro-Concrete" system, which was widely used for civil engineering projects at the time.

In April 1995 the 7 co-owners of the block were refused planning permission for its demolition owing to the historical and architectural novelty of the structure which made it a category "A" listed building. Protective metal mesh was placed around the external shell to hold together the disintegrating concrete.

Lion Chambers is currently unoccupied and will remain so until the money and the collective will is found for refurbishment.
A more likely scenario, given the probable cost of renovation, is that the owners will be granted their wish to pull it down. "

My minor contribution:

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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby johnnyanglia » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:04 pm

The Lion Chambers is a magnificent piece of architecture in terms of historical importance, aesthetics and construction method. To allow it to degrade any further or be pulled down would be obscene.
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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby Mori » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:23 pm

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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby cell » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:16 pm

I sometimes wonder about the effort and expense that goes in to trying to save or preserve buildings which are basically past it. Before anyone starts, I'm not condoning the free for all demolition of historical and significant buildings that were left to rot and I think Glasgow would be a worse place without this particular building. However here we have a building which some of the key factors in it being listed were the materials and construction methods and which now it is those particular materials which have proven to be it's downfall. It's like building a fantastically detailed and complex building out of paper, listing it because it is unique then greeting about it when you get the inevitable soggy mess when it rains.

Apparently Historic Scotland will not allow a replacement facade using modern materials and like it or not are contributing to the building's decline, therefore we have reached an impasse which is unlikely to be solved with the building being allowed to deteriorate further. Regardless any repair or restoration will have to be funded heavily with public money (HS grant) with the only public benefit being an interesting looking building which will no doubt is destined to become private offices not best suited to modern office layouts and which the majority of us will never see inside.

Historic Scotland need to take a look at themselves and become more flexible in the methods and materials allowed for building repair and to permit alterations which will allow old buildings to find new uses. At the moment their "wattle and dub" repair approach and obsesive insistence on retaining original features will result in us losing more buildings which could have a long and useful life.
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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby The Egg Man » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:20 pm

cell wrote:..........Regardless any repair or restoration will have to be funded heavily with public money (HS grant) with the only public benefit being an interesting looking building which will no doubt is destined to become private offices not best suited to modern office layouts and which the majority of us will never see inside.

.......................


This poses the question about whether there's any ongoing demand for such office accomodation. Anyone wandering through the Blythswood Hill/ West George St/ West Regent St/ St Vincent St area can't help but notice the amount of office space and entire buildings to let.
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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby tom clearwood » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:11 pm

I think this is a particularly charming little building, and as such it's special. There's a lot of impressive solidity expressed in our city centre, this structure expresses the soon-crushed flowering of european optimism, material lightness, and architectural playfulness.


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hole in the wall by tom clearwood, on Flickr
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looking down through ripply glass by tom clearwood, on Flickr
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inside the arched window by tom clearwood, on Flickr
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Re: Lion Chambers??

Postby HollowHorn » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:42 pm

tom clearwood wrote:this structure expresses the soon-crushed flowering of european optimism, material lightness, and architectural playfulness.

You took the words right out of my mouth............... ::):
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