Saturday, 11 December 2010

Paisley: Scotland's Architecturally Infertile Town

Renfrewshire Council Headquarters

Whilst in Dundee and galavanting around Scotland viewing modernist marvels, I've become a little out of sync with the architectural happenings in my home town of Paisley. In a previous post I discussed the concrete monster that is the Renfewshire Council Headquarters. It turns out the North Building has subsequently been demolished, and it's replacement, named The Cloisters (a sympathetic slap in the face to the 12th Century Paisley Abbey that sits adjacent), is a housing development, taking architecture to new extremes of banality.

At least the North Building meant something within the context of post-war modernist architecture. This uninspiring lump simply follows a tick-box exercise in building yuppie kennels. It is almost forgivable with some of the out-of-town-beside-a-shopping-centre developments such as Ferry Village, but this is in the heart of Paisley. For those not in the know, Paisley is a large settlement (think 5th largest in Scotland) seven miles from Glasgow (which it borders to the east), that has suffered the torments of the gravitational effects of Glasgow's economy and out-of-town developments. The town centre is desolate, and all in all, Paisley doesn't have much going for it. Developments like the above further undermine the chance of Paisley being anything more than a burgh of Glasgow. Renfrewshire Council appear to have a short-sighted approach to town planning that sees anyone willing to build anything awarded the contract. I'm not suggesting the North Building should have been kept, I'm simply suggesting the Council need to develop a little vision in building a New Paisley.

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