Municipal Buildings in Port Glasgow

Designed by David Hamilton, the original municipal buildings were completed in 1815. In 1994, when the architects were first approached to consider the rehabilitation of the complex, it had stood empty for 12 years and was in a seriously dilapidated condition. An initial analysis showed that the areas required for circulation and ancillary uses in a public building would take up too much space. It was decided, therefore, to replace the decaying rear south face with a new tract where these functions could be accommodated. The new façade adopts many features of the old portico front on the opposite side of the building. Instead of stone, steel was used for the columns, however. A series of open public spaces was created as well as enclosed areas that house circulation and sanitary facilities. Continuous string courses serve to unite the different sections of the building and ensure an overall harmony. The stone-paved entrance podium echoes the original entrance at the front and extends into the 10-metre-high foyer. On the first floor, the new extension is connected to the existing tract by a bridge. After gutting the building, all that remained was the old clock tower and the external walls. The latter were supported by peripheral steel columns, which were tied back to the mass of the tower to provide lateral restraint. A more generous sense of space was achieved by cutting three large openings in the base of the tower walls. A series of paved and planted outdoor spaces was also created.
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