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Latitude: 55.8725 / 55°52'20"N
Longitude: -4.285 / 4°17'5"W
OS Eastings: 257128
OS Northings: 666728
OS Grid: NS571667
Mapcode National: GBR 0DG.GM
Mapcode Global: WH3P2.4NSG
Entry Name: University of Glasgow, Gilmorehill Campus Building E8, 32 University Avenue, Glasgow University Union Including Boundary Walls, Entrance Piers, Lamp Standards and Steps
Listing Date: 20 May 1986
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 374020
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB32252
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Hillhead
Traditional County: Lanarkshire
Alan McNaughton of Arthur & McNaughton, 1929-31. 3-storey over basement, 13-bay Free Baronial students' union building, symmetrically arranged with drum towers flanking entrance bay and corbelled balcony at 2nd floor. Ashlar, bull-faced at basement, stugged walling with polished ashlar margins and quoins.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: 2-storey drum towers flank advanced centre bay with crowstep gable and recessed tall arched mullioned and transomed window (some stained glass) rising through 1st and 2nd floors. Polished ashlar balcony (now stonecleaned) links towers over ground floor. Below, wide flight of steps to recessed doorpiece with slit windows and roll-moulded architrave. Windows transomed and/or mullioned, with strapwork pediments at towers. Small angle turrets corbelled out at 1st floor level. String-course over basement. Corbelled stone balcony at 2nd floor, with solid parapet, runs from drum towers to angle turrets. 2-bay elevation to West with canted projecting bays corbelled over ground floor, with small rectangular windows.
Small-pane leaded lights to metal pivot (vertical and horizontal) windows. M-shaped slate roofs, crowstep gables with scroll skewstone; tall axial stacks.
INTERIOR (seen 2010): numerous original details including: decorative timber fireplaces; panelled walls; parquet flooring; decorative plaster cornices; wrought-iron balusters. Imperial staircase; pilastered 1st floor stairhall; columned dining room; shallow vaulted roofs to Billiard Hall and galleried Debating Chamber.
BOUNDARY WALLS, ENTRANCE PIERS, LAMP STANDARDS AND STEPS: Low stugged ashlar wall (stepped down slope) to basement; entrance steps with parapet and piers supporting pair of decorative wrought-iron lamp standards.
The University Union is a rare example of a little-altered Inter-War higher educational building. the design is characteristic of the development of tertiary education buildings from this period and retains a number of original features. The use of the Free Baronial style is well detailed, with a particularly prominent entrance flanked by tow large round turrets. The building is prominently set within the university campus and makes a good contribution to the streetscape.
The building was designed to replace the John McIntyre Building (see separate listing) as the Mens' Union. Stylistically, it looked back to the pre-War period, with details reminiscent of J J Burnet, C R Mackintosh and Robert Lorimer. Alan McNaughtan (1878-1952) had been an assistant to J J Burnet from 1895-1901. Funds for the new building were raised by donations to the Student Welfare Scheme, started in 1921 to reinvigorate student life. Membership of Glasgow University Union was restricted to male students until 1980. The Queen Margaret Union for female students occupied the John McIntyre Building from 1932 until a purpose-built complex in University Gardens was constructed in 1969.
A row of shops dating from the 1870s was demolished to make way for the new building.
The extension at the north end, 'The Hive', was designed by Keppie, Henderson & Partners in 1965.
The mural 'West End Perk' by Fyffe Christie (1918-79), originally sited near the entrance to the Citizen's Theatre, was bought by the James Bridie Trust for the James Bridie Memorial Room.
Formerly listed as '14-42 (Even Nos) University Avenue, Students Union'.
List description updated as part of review of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus, 2011. The building number is derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007), as published on the University's website www.gla.ac.uk.
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