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131 Rottenrow, University of Strathclyde, Architecture Building

A Category B Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow

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Latitude: 55.8615 / 55°51'41"N

Longitude: -4.2424 / 4°14'32"W

OS Eastings: 259755

OS Northings: 665423

OS Grid: NS597654

Mapcode National: GBR 0PL.2K

Mapcode Global: WH3P2.TX0V

Entry Name: 131 Rottenrow, University of Strathclyde, Architecture Building

Listing Date: 4 September 2012

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 401046

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51962

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Anderston/City/Yorkhill

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Frank Fielden of Frank Fielden and Associates, 1964-7. 3-storey and basement, 12-bay Modernist school of architecture and building science with prominent 2-storey projecting bay windows, distinctive angled rooflights and recessed ground floor. Integral single storey, roughly square-plan lecture theatre to W. Part of post-war university campus within an urban setting. Set on ground falling away to S. Exposed in-situ concrete frame creating base course, band courses and parapet; blue and black brick in stretcher bond external cavity walls. Cut through entrance to W of plan with 2-leaf glazed entrance doors.

N ELEVATION: entrance to right. Canted bays at ground floor, returns with window over black infill panel; glazed strip to top of ground floor. Projecting bays with glazing over black infill panel at 1st floor and copperised felt cladding on lightweight concrete 'Suporex' panels at 2nd floor; returns with glazing over black infill panel.

E ELEVATION: projecting bays at centre, those at 2nd floor with copperised felt cladding. Single storey lean-to at ground.

S ELEVATION: similar to that at N elevation. Entrance to left. Copperised felt cladding with horizontal light above to projecting bays at 1st floor.

W ELEVATION: similar to that a E elevation. Ground floor and basement advanced to form lecture theatre, exhibition block and offices; recessed end bays of advanced section block.

Predominantly sheet glass in metal framed pivot over fixed pane windows and pivot over casement windows; pivot windows at ground floor. Asphalt flat roof; large angled rooflights with glazing to N. Integral rainwater goods.

INTERIOR (seen 2011): open plan studios around a core of seminar rooms and offices to the S, with internal walls of brown brick and concrete and wood block flooring on concrete floor slab. Entrance hall with in situ concrete flying staircase, with tiled treads, metal balustrade and deep paired timber handrail, later suspended tubular steel truss to half landing; some later partitions around staircase. Later timber pit at 2nd floor with raked seating. Vertically boarded red pine walls to lecture theatre.

Statement of Interest

This well detailed Modernist building was the first dedicated purpose-built post-war architecture school in the United Kingdom and was designed by the School's Professor of Architecture, Frank Fielden. It is prominently located in the main body of this post-war university campus and makes clever use of the steeply sloping site. The constraints of site were influential in determining the long narrow form of the building, which is used to an advantage in the interior plan-form. The exterior survives largely unaltered retaining its prominent copperised projecting bays and distinctive angled rooflights. These features maintain consistent light levels in the building. The building is constructed from a range of materials which are all exposed in a conscious attempt to minimise the use of different materials as well as to provide a building that required minimal maintenance.

Frank Fielden wanted a building that would create a modern architectural office environment for his students. Every student was to be allocated a permanent space in an open-plan studio and the size of the projecting bays was determined by the space required for each student and their equipment (drawing board, table and storage for equipment, books and drawings). The studios could be subdivided by movable pin board screens. The studios are predominantly to the N of the plan around a core of seminar room, teaching spaces and library, with offices to the S. A large lecture theatre surrounded by an exhibition area is on the ground floor. The open studio space, staircases and full-height lightwell to the E was designed to minimise separation between the studio floors and promote a sense of continuity throughout the building. However this increased noise levels and created wide ranging temperature differentials between the floors, and the original lightwell was blocked creating an unusual 'pit' on the top floor which was used as a teaching space.

The Architecture Building was part of the original masterplan for the University of Strathclyde, which followed the granting of a Royal Charter in 1964. The origins of the university began in 1796 when Professor John Anderson left instructions in his will for the provision of an institution that was 'founded for the good of mankind and improvement in science'. By the 1890s this institution had developed rapidly and in 1903 built the Royal College building, George Street (see separate listing). The student population continued to grow, particularly following WWII and in the 1950s the area immediately to the N of the Royal College was developed to provide further facilities including a new engineering building, student union and chaplaincy centre. In 1964 the enlarged Royal College was granted the Royal Charter and became the University of Strathclyde. Keen to maintain a presence in city centre the renowned Modernist architect Robert Matthew drew up plans for the expansion of the campus to the E of the Royal College building, to provide additional buildings for science and technology disciplines as well as accommodation for the newly introduced arts and social sciences subjects. This original masterplan has been continually developed as land became available for the campus, following the demolition of tenements and other public and commercial buildings. The University has also acquired and adapted existing building adjacent to the campus for their use, such as the Barony Church and the Ramshorn Theatre (see separate listings).

Frank Fielden was Professor of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde in the 1960s. In 1947 he was a lecturer at the School of Architecture at Durham University and started his own private architectural practice, later known as The Design Partnership . His work was wide-ranging including private houses and several schemes for the conversion of large terrace blocks into flats. He also undertook work for the University of Durham including administration offices and extensions to Henderson Hall, King's College and the University's rowing club. After taking up his position at the University of Strathclyde University he established Frank Fielden & Associates. As well as designing the new Architecture Building he also designed University of Glasgow's Refectory.

An abstract 3-D concrete mural by Charles Anderson is known to be in situ in the main foyer (formerly exhibition hall) but is presently covered, (2013).

Listed as part of the University of Strathclyde Review 2010-2012. List description updated, 2013.

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