gm+ad book Review, Scottish Architecture Publication, Penny Lewis Scotland

gm+ad architects – Book Review

gordon murray + alan dunlop architects, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

post updated 25 January 2022

gm+ad architects book

Curious Rationalism
Editor: Penny Lewis
Publisher: Carnyx

The ink had hardly dried on the last one….but bigger + better, with a foreword by the great Hugh Pearman and edited again by Penny Lewis this luxuriously-covered 152 page hardback, complete with excellent photography, catches up from the 2003 book ‘challenging contextualism’:

gm+ad Book Review by Adrian Welch

4 May 2006

Loquacious intro with plenty of thoughts not specifically related to gm+ad. Indeed Hugh resists engaging in any serious critique and has opted to give a good rounded introduction with some general observations.

He describes gm+ad’s ‘vigour’ and places their approach within ‘critical regionalism’. The mention of gm+ad echoing the ‘disciplining geometry of the Glasgow grid-plan’ will no doubt rankle those who were deeply upset by what they would perceive as the exact opposite, ie the Bewleys cantilever, Spectrum’s Chicken Wing and the Sassy Radish’s massive green pinball arm all look like they set out to naughtily disobey the grid. But Hugh wisely states immediately that gm+ad like to ‘disrupt things a little’: however, what might seem like a ‘little’ disruption in Rotterdam or Los Angeles is seen in the UK as a major disturbance, and amongst sensitive Glasgow Grid fans as a step too far.

I see a lot of international flavours in gm+ad’s work: for example, there is a resonance between the JKS Workshops and some projects by Herzog & de Meuron. Often rather than a total disruptive building – like Coop Himmelbau or Gunther Domenig – gm+ad create a rational whole offset by an intriguing cloak (Sentinel) or invigorating incident (Spectrum). This creates creative tension but importantly also provides Clients with easy to fit-out lettable space. Whether the chicken wing contains redundant space or the columns of the Radisson are not solid concrete is inconsequential to Alan and Gordon and this does place their architecture within the same fold as Gehry’s, an architect who stage manages architecture like theatre.

Hugh is right when he says gm+ad are a ‘very self-aware practice‘: just like Richard Murphy – the first Scottish practice apparently to bring out a practice monongraph – Gordon and Alan are constantly in the limelight and clearly adept at consistent promulgation of their work. They are also very good at presenation, oh and very handy at building a wide range of interesting buildings that have helped challenge Scottish architecture.

Alan Dunlop

Previous gm+ad architects book : Challenging Contextulaism

Marks Hotel
photo : Andrew Lee

Architecture in Strathclyde

Key Buildings by gm+ad

Hazelwood School
Hazelwood School
photo : Andrew Lee

Radisson Blu Glasgow
Radisson Hotel Glasgow
photo : Andrew Lee

Key Developments in the City

Glasgow School of Art Competition
Glasgow School of Art design
picture from architect

The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse Glasgow
image : David Churchill

Glasgow walking tours

Architecture Books

Comments / photos for the gm+ad architects Architecture Book page welcome