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57 Laurel Street, Crathie Court Including Terrace Wall

A Category B Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.873 / 55°52'22"N

Longitude: -4.3164 / 4°18'58"W

OS Eastings: 255167

OS Northings: 666846

OS Grid: NS551668

Mapcode National: GBR 06G.3G

Mapcode Global: WH3P1.NNS2

Entry Name: 57 Laurel Street, Crathie Court Including Terrace Wall

Listing Date: 4 September 2012

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 401049

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51966

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Victoria Park

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Description

Ronald Bradbury, designed 1946, completed 1952. 6- and 8-storey, Modernist, flat-roofed, U-plan high-rise block of balcony-access (single occupancy) flats set on sloping site within own grounds. Reinforced concrete frame, later rendering to original pre-cast concrete facing slabs. Continuous, horizontal, open-air cantilevered access balconies to N, E and W with contrasting trim. 3 staircase towers rising above roofline with full-height, long vertical windows and small round nautical windows. Rectangular window openings; replacement timber doors. Rendered terrace wall to ground to S, E and W with later decorative metal screen. Random rubble terrace wall and steps to S.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: off-centre, slightly curved flat-roofed advanced random-rubble porch with, nautical window, timber and glass entrance door with sidelights. Staircase tower behind, with full-length window; raised margins. Recessed, 6-storey wing to right with corner staircase tower. 8-storey wing to left, with corner staircase tower.

S ELEVATION: asymmetrical with projecting outer wings. Off-centre stairs lead to slender flat-roofed porch with tall, 8-storey stair tower above with full-length window to right. Balcony to top storey at right. Later flat-roofed extension to far left.

Predominantly, replacement plastic windows. Flat and piended roofs.

INTERIOR: (partially seen, 2012). Original number (88) of single-person flats remain; one 2-bedroom flat (originally caretaker's accommodation). Common room. 3 lift-shafts, stone tiled staircases; some timber painted number boards. Individual flat layouts thought to be as original, including bed alcove.

TERRACE WALL TO S: full-width coped random rubble terrace wall.

Statement of Interest

Crathie Court was the first high-rise public housing to be built in Glasgow and its geometric, Modernist form has a significant streetscape presence. The tall vertical stair towers contrast with the long horizontal balconies to create a strong, distinctive design, following precedents in Continental Modernism, but with direct precedents in London County Council high-rise developments. The mix of different height levels within the block create architectural interest and the recent rendering of the original pre-cast concrete facing has not detracted from the strong geometric lines and form of the structure. The tall, staircase tower in the middle of the building provides the link between the 8-storey and the 6-storey wings. Crathie Court was originally designed to provide housing for single women, and the 88 flats continue to house single people (2012). The final cost of construction in 1952 was £98,000.

Dr Ronald Bradbury was the Director of Housing in Glasgow from 1943-1948. Bradbury outlined the design of Crathie Court in 1946 to provide the city with a prototype high-rise model to move forward with its urgent slum clearance programme. His other prototype was for a 10-storey block at Moss Heights, Cardonald (1950). There had been much discussion in the city as to the best way forward for public housing and Bradbury's proposals were approved in line with City Engineer, Robert Bruce's 1945 planning report which promoted a selective use of high density development on inner city sites in opposition to the earlier sub-urban low density solution of the late 1930s and in direct contrast to the recommendations of Patrick Abercrombie's Clyde Valley Regional Plan which promoted moving Glasgow's over crowded population ('overspill') to New Towns. Crathie Court is therefore recognised as a landmark development in Scotland's post-war housing programme.

The variation in the heights of the wings was determined by the position of the surrounding buildings and the light that could be gained from various angles. The houses were designed to be heated from a central boiler, as this was thought to be more efficient that individual coal fires and each flat had a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and a bed alcove. The three tall staircases also had a self operated lift which lead to the open access balconies. The signage to Laurel Street is recent, but in keeping with the original style. The original metal vertical paned widows have been replaced completely with a new, but consistently applied glazing pattern (2012).

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