Anderston Centre : Restructuring the City

The uncomfortable postwar landscape of Anderston holds within it a building that expressed the ideas of an era and the ambitions of a city. Not much of Anderston Centre remains, but it is still big. Blank concrete walls face the pedestrian at street level. Residents, cars and servicing vehicles make the dark service routes into the belly of the megastructure strangely active. The dark and dripping waffle slabs under the building distort sounds, while through the darkness, moments of activity are illuminated as people reach their housing block elevator. A series of ramps and stairs establish thresholds to the podium level, it is here that it is possible to get an idea of the building's true size. There are pre-cast system built elements above and below. The activities within these different elements are revealed through a composed series of layers. Anderston Centre looks old and tired. The podium level is removed from urban activity, now only a few office workers move around the concrete walkways. Towards the motorway, a prominent piece of the building sits against a severed slab, a beam revealed to be over a metre in depth, cleared by the construction of a new housing project that remains empty. Though hidden, the sculptural qualities of the architecture stand prominent, expecting an urban situation never rendered.

Inside the building a lift is adorned with mirrors and bronzed metal, where muted golden light illuminates an ascent through the concrete layers of the building. Many of the offices lie empty and gutted, without even having heard a footstep in two decades. Through a door on the upper commercial floor, a long office space is revealed, with entry into a room straight out of the late 1960s. Furniture is stacked in one corner of this office, a large model of Anderston Centre remains in the centre. A meeting room holds a large wooden oval desk. Past the movement of the blinds at the window stand two of the residential towers with washing on the balconies blowing in the wind. This was the primary meeting room in the Taylor Woodrow Glasgow office. These residential towers are like small suburban streets, with their little door ornaments, 'welcome' door mats, traditional door knockers and numbers. Inside an apartment reveals the benefits of high rise, an amazing view and the feeling of removal from the streets of the city. Amidst a foreground of concrete, a background of high rise, Anderston Centre awaits demolition.