Demolition of Scotland´s tallest buildings
by Cooper Cromar, Glasgow, UK, 1968
DATE: 15/1/2015
"The demolition of Scotland´s postwar mass housing heritage continues in 2015, with the deconstruction of the 30-storey ´Gallowgate Twins´ in Glasgow´s East End. When built, between 1967 and 1968, the Bluevale and Whitevhale Towers were the tallest buildings in the UK, only surpassed in the early 1970s by the three 42-storey towers in London´s Barbican Estate. The Gallowgate Twins, constructed with precast concrete elements, remained the tallest buildings in Scotland, barring the chimney of the Inverkip Power Station, Inverclyde (now demolished). The Gallowgate Twins, however, did not have the highest occupied floor in Scotland. This achievement goes to the nearby Red Road estate, currently also under demolition. The top two floors of the Gallowgate Twins contain only building services and drying areas.

Demolition of the two towers starts in January, with completion due in summer this year. The owner of the buildings, Glasgow Housing Association, has cited reasons for the demolition as unpopularity of the estate among residents, high maintenance and operation costs and structural problems. The buildings have certainly suffered from long-term neglect. However, this does not mean that Glasgow turning away from building high-rise developments, with property developers planning several upmarket residential and office high-rises along the River Clyde.

"Demolition is big business in Glasgow. Watching your home getting blown up is a popular event on a Sunday morning for many Glaswegians. Although I warn you, it´s not the best thing to do if you´ve got a hangover", says Liam Young in the fantastic documentary Round Ma Bit: The Gallowgate Twins. The 2013 film presents the Gallowgate Twins, their urban context and the various attempts of redeveloping Glasgow´s East End, including the 2014 Commonwealth Games Village. The 30 minute film is highly recommended to anyone interested in Glasgow´s urban (mis-)planning."

[by Docomomo Scotland]