What Glasgow and New York architecture have in common guide, Scottish and American building designs

What Glasgow’s and New York’s architecture have in common guide

11 August 2023

GoMA - What Glasgow and New York architecture have in common
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Glasgow and New York City are two famous locations rarely discussed in unison. After all, they’re 3,218 miles apart, with the Atlantic Ocean separating culture, accents, and the most obvious, the country they reside. The comparisons between the two are few and far between, but from an architectural standpoint, these busking Scottish and North American cities are more similar than you think.

Glasgow & New York City Architecture: Did you know?

Glasgow has been used in American TV & Film as a replica location for New York City.

Glasgow possesses several key characteristics that lend itself well to portraying American architecture in film and television. One significant factor is the diversity of architectural styles found in the city, encompassing Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco designs. Moreover, Glasgow boasts numerous imposing structures like the Glasgow Cathedral and the Glasgow City Chambers, which can effectively stand in for government buildings or other significant edifices in the United States. In addition, the city offers an abundance of broad streets that can convincingly double as American thoroughfares and boulevards. All in all, Glasgow’s adaptable and versatile architecture makes it an exceptional filming location.

The streets in the city centre of Glasgow follow a grid pattern, much like many cities in the United States. Glasgow showcases predominantly Victorian architecture constructed using red and blonde sandstone. This architectural style is reminiscent of numerous towns found along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Choosing Glasgow as a filming location proves to be a more cost-effective option for producers, as it avoids temporarily closing sections of New York or Boston for a week or more.

In the hit TV series Melrose – based in New York – Glasgow’s architecture was the primary reason film crews began shooting scenes. They ushered in yellow cabs, NY-style phone boxes, and American flags as the Big Apple and Glasgow were visually indistinguishable.

The versatility of Glasgow’s architecture

It isn’t just New York City that uses Glasgow as a stand-in; many US locations have utilised the diversity of the Glaswegian landscape.

Below are a few instances in which Glasgow served as a substitute for the United States in cinema:

  • World War Z (2013): Certain parts of Glasgow were given the appearance of Philadelphia for shooting this zombie apocalypse movie featuring Brad Pitt. Glasgow’s streets and buildings were used to replicate the urban landscape of an American city.
  • Cloud Atlas (2012): Based on David Mitchell’s novel, this science fiction film utilised various locations in Glasgow to represent different periods and settings. Some scenes were captured in the city centre of Glasgow, which was transformed to resemble a futuristic metropolis.
  • Outlaw King (2018): Although not specifically set in the United States, this historical drama centred around Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who used Glasgow’s cathedral and other areas to depict medieval European locations. Through clever filming techniques, certain scenes were given an American vibe by leveraging Glasgow’s architecture to create the desired atmosphere.
  • Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019): Glasgow’s streets and buildings were employed to portray parts of London and Ukraine in this action-packed spin-off from the Fast & Furious series. Some scenes were shot in Glasgow’s city centre, which transformed to resemble various locations in the United States and beyond.

These are merely a handful of examples, but filmmakers frequently choose Glasgow as a prime location to recreate American settings due to its adaptability and the ease with which its architecture can be tailored to different contexts.

Is it New York or Glasgow?

Countless buildings and architectural matches in Glasgow and New York City present uncanny resemblances. From casinos to museums, parks, and subways, Glasgow even has its own Statue of Liberty (The Truth Statue).

Alea Glasgow Casino vs. Resorts World New York

Alea Glasgow, Scotland’s ultimate entertainment venue, is perfect for a roulette spin or a hand of blackjack when you’ve used up all of your UK casino welcome offers. It spans two impressive levels with lofty ceilings and offers breath-taking vistas of the River Clyde and the city skyline.

Similarly, the exterior design and bright lights of Resorts World Casino in New York offer the same gambling entertainment and structural blueprint.

Kelvingrove Park vs. Central Park

When the sun peeks out in Glasgow, residents rush to Kelvingrove Park. The same goes for New Yorkers, who frequently head to Central Park during their lunch breaks to enjoy street performances and people-watching. Both parks offer beautiful green spaces, abundant trees, and breath-taking city views.

St. Andrews Cross vs. The Flatiron Building

The building known as St Andrew’s Cross, or Eglinton Toll, is situated on Victoria Road in the southern part of the city. While it is not an exact replica of New York’s flatiron building, it bears a striking resemblance. The Victorian architecture of this structure shares similar qualities with the historic Flatiron in midtown Manhattan, thanks to its triangular exterior design.

Gallery of Modern Art vs. Museum of Modern Art

The GoMa keeps the city’s culture enthusiasts engaged all year round with its wide array of exhibitions and contemporary art. Like New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the GoMa seeks to inspire creativity and serves as a prominent cultural institution in Scotland.

The Truth Statue vs. Statue of Liberty

In the heart of Glasgow, there is a Statue of Liberty that belongs solely to the city. This magnificent Victorian sculpture, crafted by James Alexander Ewing, is atop the Glasgow City Chambers building. You may have overlooked this striking figure known as the Truth statue, which is an integral part of the City Chambers Jubilee Pediment along with Riches and Honour.

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Glasgow Building Designs

Glasgow Architecture Designs – architectural selection below:

New Glasgow Architectural Photos
Glasgow Architectural Photos

Holiday Inn Pacific Quay Hotel
Architects: Mosaic Architecture + Design
Holiday Inn Pacific Quay Hotel Glasgow
image courtesy of architects
Holiday Inn Pacific Quay Hotel

Merchant City boutique hotel
Merchant City hotel Glasgow
image courtesy of architecture practice
Merchant City Property

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