The Mighty, Mighty Glasgow

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I had four of the best years of my life in Glasgow. Which is why I left and never went back!

I feel immense affection for this city that I called home during my university years. It was (at the time) a long way away from home, pretty close to being a foreign city (depending on who you ask), and the trips up there were likely formative in encouraging me to continue my wanderings.

I made some great friends there, now distributed nicely around the world. I was most looking forward to seeing Craig again though; flatmate and course compatriot. Too many stories, for sure.

It also gave me a chance to catch up with the old girl, the Glasgow School of Art. A deeply fabulous building that will soon be host to a new Steven Holl design department, replacing the venerable Foulis building. They are even keeping the facade to the old Vic bar; scene to countless good nights out and home to some of the best techno and house music in the UK.

I also took the opportunity to head over to the temporary teaching spaces and spend some time with the students. This was the first time I had done this, and it was as rewarding as it was exhausting.

Even on the most overcast of days (i.e.: most days) the enormous north-facing windows gulp up the pure northern light.

A Charles Rennie Mackintosh artwork ... that is still a real, functioning building. It's a miracle that it is still possible.

God is in the details.

My favourite aspect of the building are the huge slabs of rock facing the street, like some scene from Gotham at night time.

The new will make-way for the newer.

Goodbye to the Foulis building - my seat used to be in the very top left - right in the corner window.

The old Vic

.... and down to the West End we go, which is ever more packed with organic haggis shops and little eateries. It was nice to see the place doing well, but it was clear the impact of the economic downturn on the centre of town were not so good - many shops boarded up, or replaced with the ubiquitous 'Pound Stretcher' crap.

One of my favourite old pubs - The Ubiquitous Chip. Good food had at home with Craig, and again at Stravagin .. the memories came flooding back almost as quickly as the Deuchers.

A change of pace, and the new Riverside Museum by Zaha Hadid. I was quite taken with the renderings that I had seen on the web, but the proof is in the pudding.

I liked the references to the old ship yards, and I thought the dynamic shapes were fun - at least when viewed from above, allowing them to sweep across the quay. The dark glass was extremely dramatic from a distance.

... sadly the overcast weather here will likely rarely allow light to puncture through to the toys inside.

Typical Zaha contours must have been fun to build.

The grey walls matched the grey sky well.

Reflecting the Science Centre and BBC buildings opposite.

Other views captured a past history (where apparently 30% of the world's ships used to be made!)

The glorious architecture on the other side of the Clyde.

The off-green of the interior again was cool, but gave the place an odd laboratory feel - not quite right when looking at classic transport.

These old beauties just could not compete with the building, sadly.

Some awesome bikes on display from Graem Obree

Overall, a great architectural statement, but one that does not meet the brief.

And to round it off, more great food and coffees at Cafe Gandolfi with Craig.

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