Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Winning architect behind George Square design throws toys out of pram over cancellation

Crying babyIn an outburst which probably means there was more interest in collecting cash than the accolade of winning the design contract, The Glaswegian has named architect John McAslan as slamming Glasgow City Council for running a “hopelessly handled mess”.

He is reported to have said:

The design world is littered with competitions that have never come to fruition but I can’t recall a competition being so immediately abandoned.

It is unique and I think it has been
 hopelessly handled by the council and its leader Gordon Matheson.

We were selected as the winners and 
notified by email – but we were notified
 simultaneously that the council had 
abandoned the process.

I haven’t had any other contact from 
the council but I have written to Councillor Matheson suggesting we meet and talk about what happened and
try to salvage something from the wreckage of his making.

It is bizarre and brings a lack of credibility to the city and the process.

You just don’t behave
like that – it’s not the way
 competitions should be run.

Via: George Square revamp ‘winner’ slams Glasgow City Council – the Glaswegian


Has he not read the papers or seen the other stories in the media?

Instead of throwing a strop and having a hissy fit, he should be making mileage out of the fact that his design won, and offering prayers to his preferred deity for not being stuck in the middle of a probable long drawn out war between the council and the citizens of Glasgow.

Glasgow City Council was smart enough to see that their high-handed and self-appointed decision to mess with the city’s George Square yet again, and make it into a bigger mess than it had already become, was going to start a fight with the people of Glasgow, and move a “sure” cosy job in the City Chambers down and step into one that was perhaps only “safe” in future.

The council ran to the line, and credit where credit is due, did not carry on regardless and drag the affair out for weeks, months, or even years, while wasting yet more time and money on a fight with the people, who had spoken and expressed their general dislike for the idea.

McAslan is not so wise, and is seeking to drag this out in some way and for some reason.

Were there hands being rubbed in the knowledge that when the project overran its initial budget of £15 million pounds, the cash would not be cut off leaving the contractors to pick up the excess, but that the taxpayer would have funded the overrun?

And, in the real world… how many of these project come in under budget, or even on budget?

I’d rather wanted an original picture of George Square, from the formal days when it was full of set displays and iron railings, but I don’t have any that are safely out of copyright, and I don’t want to upset anyone who might own the ones I have – so, this handy pic of a possible good view of George Square after McAslan modifications seems as good as any.

George Square pigeon

George Square with pigeon © Roberge2008 via Flickr

I’m surprisingly disappointed by this (response), as I had been impressed by the company a few months ago, while reading the architectural press and learning that it had been part of a short-listing for companies that would be involved in plans to double the size of the city of Moscow, and that it was already underway with a number of projects in the surrounding area.

That a practice with offices in Edinburgh (and London, and Manchester) can win business in such a place is no mean feat.

Update – January 2013

The cynical might be forgiven for thinking that they’ll do anything to get their hands on the £15 million (or perhaps the  more attractive overrun).

From none of the plans apparently being reported as popular with the people, the “Loser” appears to be claiming some sort of wide support for the revamp – strange, very strange…

Via: George Square redesign ‘winner’ rallies support for overhaul to go ahead – the Glaswegian

24/01/2013 - Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , ,

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