Yesterday the plans for the renovation of George Square became available to be seen in the Lighthouse in Mitchell Lane. There are six final entries to be viewed for this 15 million pound renovation of the square of our city. There are arguments that the people of Glasgow have not been consulted enough as to what they would like in this civic space. The offices of our firm are based in George House on George Square. At lunchtime a few of our staff members went to look at the plans.
The few of us who went have decided on which plan we like the best. But before we tell you which one, here’s a bit about the ideas.
Five of the proposals relocate the tall column of Sir Walter Scott and all the statues to either a cluster or a row on the north or south side of the square. All of the ideas keep the cenotaph where it is.
The six ideas are:-
- Honouring the past- resurfacing the square in Caithness stone, adding ornamental gardens with lights, moving the monuments and planting on the perimeter. We liked the idea of extending the square by incorporating the roads on the east and west of the square so it means it is not surrounded by traffic.
- Urban Salon- includes event space, a ferris wheel and a permanent ice rink with a dramatic loggia.
- Water mirror- this involves a good sized strip of green space along the north side, a shallow pond which has been called a water mirror taking up about 25% of the square and things like whispering poems and bells in the green space or “grove” of trees. It moves the monuments to the edges.
- Water feature- this proposal is for arcs of water that people could walk through on the west side of the square and a covered cafe and trees on the perimeter. The monuments are moved to the edges. There is hardly any green areas in this scheme.
- Circular fountain – great boulders are spaced out along the south side of the square, the statues clustered in a ring , greenery on the edges, a nice looking round, more traditional, fountain and a round pavilion outside George House.
- Modern- this one ambitiously dispenses with all the monuments and statues but retains the cenotaph. The scheme incorporates all the surrounding roads and makes the square much larger, and has at its centre a fountain and lots of planting. Paths form a cross for walkers to reach the four corners of the square.
We liked this last one the best. We think that the scheme would bring colour from the planting and movement and interest from the fountain. The fountain can be turned off for event space. Its won us over with it ambition and we think it would enliven the city centre for pedestrians. But this choice has proven to be controversial in the office. What do you think ?