The Building's History
The Architecture Building was completed in 1967, as the Department of Architecture and Building Science, the first purpose built architecture school designed in Britain since the 1930’s. The architects were Frank Fielden & Associates of whom the principal, Frank Fielden, was then the Professor of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde.
The Architects’ Journal in May 1967 praised the building for its ambition to provide each student with a quality of space similar to one they would find in a modern office set within a flexible studio structure, intended to break down the barriers between years. It also noted the unique situation where the architect also represented the client. What resulted was a fully fit for purpose building. Built in the experimental days of Brutalism, a 'style' we are seeing returning to British architecture. The building itself offers a great source of inspiration for students studying at the department and is an exemplar in rational planning and beauty in its simplicity.
The Building Study by Architects' Journal in May 1967, is a key resource for those interested further information about our building.
In 1888 at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College a department of Architecture and Building was established. Charles Gourlay was a lecturer, and he was later appointed to the first Chair of Architecture and Building at what would become to be known as the “Glasgow School of Architecture” in 1895.
In 1904 the school's title was formally established, with teaching spread between the two institutions of the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Technical College in Glasgow. In essence, construction was taught at the College and design at the School of Art.
Charles Gourlay can essentially be regarded as the founder of our school. A brief history of his career shows that in the beginning he had some forty students, however this very quickly rose to nearly five hundred, a figure higher than our existing student population.
His considerable success was recognised by the College, leading to the establishment of the Chair of Architecture and Building Construction, to which he was unanimously appointed, reflecting the high regard he was held in by his academic peers. His writings were praised as being "being admirably lucid and to the point", an admirable characteristic which is often inapplicable to writers in the architectural field today, where obfuscation rather than communication may be considered to be avant-garde.
In 1964 the Royal College became the University of Strathclyde, and in that year the department at Strathclyde took the necessary step to become a separate entity, reorganising its structure and receiving a new building for the new School of Architecture, Building Science and Urban Planning, housed in the first purpose-built architecture school.
Gourlay helped establish the Department as it stands today, inheriting some of his principles in what has become the backbone of the ethos of the department.
The school has long had a reputation as being something of a “technical school”, and understanding our origins makes clear why this is, even if in recent history the school has explored a variety of directions and methodologies.