The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © Gavin Stamp
Photo © Gavin Stamp

100 Buildings 100 Years

1989: Italian Centre, Merchant City, Glasgow

Type: Commercial/offices
Architect: Page & Park
Location: Ingram Street, Glasgow, G1 1HP

The Italian Centre in Ingram Street in Glasgow, designed by the local firm of Page & Park, is not a single, discrete work of architecture but a subtle, sympathetic integration of new and old. That is part of its significance. It marked a change, coming as it did after a long period that saw the neglect and demolition of many of Glasgow’s historic buildings and the destruction of much of its urban fabric by motorways.

The Italian Centre is a development of shops, cafes, and offices around a new courtyard which marked a return to civilised urbanism and a recognition of the importance of continuity, by retaining several 19th-century classical stone facades facing the surrounding streets. The new fabric – unassertive and vaguely postmodern but inventive and humane – was enhanced by new sculpture by Jack Sloan while the Italian theme was proclaimed by figures and friezes on the exterior by the modern neo-classical sculptor Alexander Stoddart. The success of the Italian Centre confirmed a change of direction in Glasgow which led to the regeneration of the historic Merchant City.

by Gavin Stamp

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