Article by Malcolm Fraser in The Herald - about regeneration / refurbishment generally.
"So, is this demolition symptomatic of Glasgow repeating the mistakes of the 1960s, demonising and demolishing the historic built environment? Is this the city returning to its bad old days? Certainly, walking round Glasgow today we see a distressing number of fine old buildings standing empty, with a lot of shiny new ones of often questionable quality going up beside them."
"The necessary repairs and improvements to our Dalmarnock tenements would attract 20% VAT. Their demolition is zero-rated, as is the construction of the new buildings that will replace them. This, in practice, represents massive Government support and encouragement for the endless cycles of landfill that are wrecking us."
I could not agree more on these points, reading about the eviction of the Jaconellis over recent weeks - and demolition of old red sandstone tenements - left me cold, initial reaction is that we are repeating the same old mistakes, communities uprooted and solid buildings demolished as if the sustainability agended was unknown.
As for 0% VAT on building renewal it is a no brainer but despite many powerful campaigns over recent years this has yet to transpire. e-architect firmly support VAT change to improve renewal of old buildings and thus cement the fabric of many towns and cities.
Article about Red Road Flats by Tom Manley
Red Road Flats, Glasgow
With recent events and the preparation for demolition bringing the attention of journalists and other eyes to focus on Red Road, the current situation and future of this area is both sensitive and uncertain.
Constructed between 1964 & 1969 it was hoped that high rise living with lock ups, garages, and landscaping would provide a new alternative - a solution to the urgent housing needs of the time. At one time the tallest residential buildings in Europe, the Red Road Flats include properties let to the YMCA, which houses asylum seekers and refugees from many different parts of the world.
The reality, which has become associated with the estate is a troubled reputation for antisocial crime and a quick decline in the quality of the environment it has provided for many of its residents. A familiar presence to the northern skyline as one enters or leaves the city, a series of seven towers loom above the predominantly suburban style surroundings.
The demolition of buildings integral to a community, along with the associated relocation of residents and regeneration of neighborhoods has echoes across Scotland and the UK, both historically and in the present wave of clearances, which form part of Glasgow City Council's regeneration programme and future housing provision. High Rise living may be coming to an end in Glasgow, but new tensions are created, in expectation of individual’s uncertain future and ongoing personal journeys.
Within the sparse walls of the towers, a mesmerising grid of windows signifies the many stories and lives, which have been contained behind these facades. Perhaps not typical but symbolising the well documented failure and isolation of many of these areas "just knock me down with the building - Don’t bother shifting me" is a harsh reaction by one resident. An array of boarded up windows, now a poignant demonstration that the end of an era has been reached for Red Road.
Despite this, an ominous calm pervades the area whilst I was here; - courteous smiles, impeccable politeness and the sense of a community getting on with things manages to override the real crisis many residents have found themselves in. One Red Road Flats resident told me he quite liked the towers, referring to their magnificence amongst the wider landscape, - "they look better than a lot of the stuff nearby” hinting that perhaps leaving nature to take its course might be a more suitable and fitting end.
With the cost of continued repair and upkeep becoming unmanageable, and seeking a brighter future for the citizens of Red Road, the preparation for demolition has now commenced, and is due for completion by 2016/17. The future for the Red Road Flats site has yet to be decided by Glasgow City Council, and the partnerships overseeing regeneration will need to decide how to respond to the legacy that these 9 towers will leave on Springburn and its wider location.
Article on Red Road flats by Tom Manley
Red Road Flats - Demolition News Update
May 2008: Glasgow’s tallest tower blocks set for demolition in £60m rehousing initiative for tenants: Red Road flats owned by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) since 2003.
Height: 31 storeys - highest blocks in the city
Red Road Flats Demolition
Glasgow Housing Association has announced plans to pull down the city's notorious Red Road scheme as part of a £60m redevelopment. The eight skyscrapers - 1,300 flats packed onto this small site in these eight huge tower blocks - among Britain's tallest, are expected to be demolished over the next decade.
GHA confirmed the first demolition at the Red Road Flats site, one of two 27-storey slabs, as it announced record investment in a new scheme for Balornock and Barmulloch. Detailed plans for Red Road Flats will be a matter for future consultations and the area's tenants group.
Around 600 low-rise private and social-rented homes will be built, filling in the spaces between Red Road towers and brownfields left by bulldozers tearing down an earlier generation of tenement homes.
The city is well known (in Scotland at least) for the Comprehensive Redevelopment Areas which decimated slums in the fifties and sixties, replacing them with brave new world tower blocks and slab blocks. Some examples above from just south of the Crown Street area (left) and from the Gorbals (right). Queen Elizabeth Square housing by Basil Spence was demolished and has now been replaced by a CZWG masterplan.
Glasgow Council Housing - Brief History
The comprehensive development of central Glasgow areas was the largest of any city in the UK and thousands of tenements were demolished, principally in the fifties. The key area redeveloped was Hutchestown and the Gorbals.
In 1947, city councillors visited Marseille to inspect new tower-blocks devised by Le Corbusier. By 1979 the city had more than 300 multi-storey tower blocks.
The Red Road flats at Balornock were, at 31 storeys, the highest in Europe. The first residents were welcomed in 1969, and the blocks were completed in the summer of 1971. However, by 1975 complaints were starting to emerge re the Red Road flats from residents. It was only in 1991 that Concierges were put in place at the Red Road flats.
Film: Andrea Arnold's award-winning 2006 movie 'Red Road'