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3 behemoths of Glasgow Science Architecture Guide

Scottish Buildings Article: Science Centre + BioCity + University of Glasgow

1 Mar 2019

3 Behemoths of Glasgow Science Architecture Article

Scotland has always been the home of rational and analytical thought, a place where scientific breakthroughs are ten-a-penny and the average working man knocks out an invention like penicillin in between howls of ‘OCH AYE THE NOO’ and hearty handfuls of shortbread.

Many would argue that Scotland was itself the founder of the way we discuss issues today. Enlightenment thinking was a mainstay in Scottish dialogue during the late 17th and early 18th century, and marked the start of secular science as we now know it.

It should come as no surprise, then, that architecture in Scotland has been home to similar developments.

Amidst modernist, brutalist, cubist and neoclassical buildings, Scotland’s dedication to scientific disciplines has made it a hub of the sciences.

Glasgow in particular has seen a wellspring of interesting scientific buildings pop up along the River Clyde.

To celebrate our inheritance as the Age of Enlightenment’s prime exponents, here are some of the best scientific buildings in Glasgow.

3 behemoths of Glasgow Science Architecture List

Glasgow Science Centre

3 behemoths of Glasgow science architecture - tower and centre
photo © Adrian Welch

Some science centre buildings are puny affairs, little more than a few half-hearted exhibits and a bored looking staff member on a zero-hour contract showing disappointed children a grainy video about saliva.

Not so with Glasgow Science Centre, which is widely regarded as one of the finest public science institutions this side of London.

Located by the River Clyde’s south bank, this titanium-clad building cuts a striking figure on the waterfront, and was one of the most prominent buildings to be opened in 2001. It was originally a part of the ongoing redevelopment of the Pacific Quay, and includes a large tower and an IMAX cinema for guests.

The building is a gem in the crown of Glasgow’s science community, and has allowed scientists to share their discoveries with the wider public.


Not every science project is worth billions – and for smaller startups (King Scientific and Choose Energy spring to mind), BioCity is the first port of call.

This impressive company provides incubation and lab space for fledgling startups in Glasgow’s scientific community, allowing them to take on smaller but equally important projects.

The company’s promotional copy makes this sound like luxury architecture:

‘Nestled in amongst landscaped gardens, and mature trees. Companies based here enjoy a break from work in ‘Nowhere’, a stylish coffeehouse co-working space with air hockey, a pool table, a gym, cosy lounge spaces and patio garden. Life science startups based here make use of the ample car parking, 24/7 security, easy access to the M8, two airports and two local train stations only a short distance away.’

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow buildings are teeming with scientists, many of whom are working on major international projects.

And the University is well equipped for these momentous undertakings, with towering buildings that are well worth a visit.

That’s our list! Can you think of any other scientific hotspots in Glasgow? Then let us know in the comments below!

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