Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mackintosh Building S45

Interesting developments in the considerations regarding demolition of the remains of the building I had no idea had so many fans.

The o2abc, or former Regal Cinema in Sauchiehall Street was little more than an ‘innocent bystander’ to the event of the Mackintosh Building fire, but that didn’t mean it was immune, and suffered extensive fire damage itself.

It seems (from the reference article) that the demolition submission for the building didn’t include any attempts to retain any of the original structure, which seems like a bit of a mistake.

This omission has attracted attention…

SCOTLAND’S historic building watchdog has lodged a strongly-worded statement formally objected to plans to completely demolish the fire-ravaged O2 ABC music venue in Glasgow.

In their response, Historic Environment Scotland state: “We object to this application for complete demolition of the O2 ABC building because the case for doing so is not adequately justified against national policy. It is our view that the applicant has not made an adequate effort to retain and preserve this C-listed building (or any part of it), and has therefore not met the tests for demolition.

“The special architectural interest of the building lies largely in the street-facing elevation and entrance foyer. We would not object to a scheme that retained these parts of the building, either with proposals for immediate redevelopment or propped and secured in a way that facilitated redevelopment at a future date.

“Although the building is fire-damaged, the principal areas of architectural interest appear to remain intact and the applicant has not demonstrated that they cannot be preserved.

“A number of the concerns they raise are not supported by evidence. While a degree of uncertainty is understandable at this stage, we nevertheless consider that the applicants might reasonably have sought more clarity on many of these matters before submitting this application.”

Certainly, from the exterior, the surviving facade looks as if it could be retained, but as an engineer, I’m painfully aware that it could be attached to little more than ‘chewing gum and string’ behind, if the heat of the fire was sufficient to erode the structural integrity of the supporting structure behind.

Removal of, or even attempts to restore, that could lead to total failure.

Reading on, it looks as if there may now be some dispute and disagreement.

However, in a new submission to the council on behalf of the owners, RM Consulting state: “The complexity of the issue we presently face in dealing with the front façade is the overall extent of the cumulative fire and structural damage that the facade has suffered; whilst not obvious externally, any detailed inspection internally will reveal the totality of the damage.

“Faced with the significant amount of cumulative damage to the façade structure and coupled with the overall catastrophic damage that the building has suffered in general, our professional advisors are at a loss on how to retain or rely on the severely damaged façade as part of any future project.”

RM Consulting have asked the council for a detailed response as to how it thinks the facade can be safely retained.

HERITAGE Watchdog Opposed To Proposed Flattening Of Iconic Blaze-Hit Glasgow Venue

In the past, such remains have not been allowed to stand as long this after major fires.

Then (from my recollections at least), it was usual for the Fire Service to announce that its inspection of the building showed it was unsafe for anyone to enter, and that it had to be demolished on grounds of safety.

We lost some pretty big buildings in those days. Again, my recollection is of places like large churches that were used as nightclubs.

I’m not suggesting they were wrong – bear in mind these may have looked solid from the outside, but dated to a time when there was no steel framework, and wood was used for the interior. With a sufficiently fierce blaze, that could be burnt away, leaving an unsupported honeycomb behind.

That said, even steel supports soften and bend if it gets hot enough.

Scott Street O2abc Roof

Scott Street O2abc Roof

I walked past the o2abc a few times during this week, after the sun started to shine, and we got some VERY hot days.

The place absolutely REEKS!

Not the smell of a fire, of which there isn’t the slightest hint of smoke.

But of a really old building which has been taken over by wet/dry rot. mould, and maybe years and years of sweaty bodies dripping onto it (and maybe other ‘bodily fluids’ as well.

It’s fairly disgusting, and wasn’t present before, when it was cooler.

Go have a sniff 😉

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14/07/2019 - Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , ,

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