Six shortlisted designs battle to be the future of George Square

THE six stunning schemes that have been shortlisted for the £15million revamp of George Square today go on display for the people of Glasgow.

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  • One of the final six designs shows the Sir Walter Scott monument moved from the centre to the south side of the Square
    One of the final six designs shows the Sir Walter Scott monument moved from the centre to the south side of the Square

The city council received 35 submissions from architects around the world keen to redesign the historic space.

A shortlist of six was drawn up and now, for the first time, everyone can see for themselves the experts' ideas for the new-look George Square.

Some designs opt to keep the historic statues, moving them to the side of the Square and most have dramatic water features.

The images are now on display in the Lighthouse, in Mitchell Lane, and the winner will be announced on January 18.

The judging panel will be made up of David Mackay, a partner of Barcelona based MBA Architects; Professor Andy McMillan, former head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School Of Art; David Harding, former head of environmental art at Glasgow School Of Art; Geoff Ellis, director of DF Concerts; and council leader Gordon Matheson.

The panel's technical adviser is Neil Baxter, secretary and treasurer of the Royal Incorporation Of Architects In Scotland.

They will not be told which architect is responsible for which design – only the council's lawyers have that information.

That is to ensure the panel chooses the design that is best for the city and is not influenced by the reputation of any of the architectural firms.

Mr Matheson said: "The calibre of the six designs is very high and I am sure whichever design team is chosen, Glaswegians will have a George Square to be proud of again.

"Each bidder has a wealth of international experience and all six have delivered a number of eye-catching civic spaces acclaimed by their peers and public alike.

"This redevelopment is a hugely exciting moment in the growth of the city as Glasgow strives to forge ahead and meet its future challenges.

"The prestige of the companies competing to redevelop George Square is a clear indication of just how iconic it is around the world.

"It is essential we choose the right team to create a new George Square – one fit for the 21st Century.

"I look forward to working closely with the winning design team to develop its design and give the people and businesses of Glasgow the George Square they deserve."

SNP group leader Graeme Hendry said: "There is a lot of variety in the designs and I would certainly encourage Glaswegians to visit and make sure the judges get to hear their opinions.

"From one that looks like it wants Glaswegians to walk on water, through to another that seems to feature the Big Brother eye, they all contain some design features that will be welcomed and others that will get folk talking.

"I welcome those that try to combine looking forward with some of our history by restoring at least some green space and statutes."

Work on the Square is expected to start within weeks, with the first phase ready in time for the Commonwealth Games next year. All 12 statues, including the 78ft monument to Sir Walter Scott in the centre of the Square, will be taken down and their plinths removed.

They will be restored before being moved to their new homes.Only the Cenotaph will remain and it will be kept under wraps to ensure it is not damaged during construction work.

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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