Conserving the past
Two five storey Georgian townhouses on the west side of George Square, dating back to the 18th century, have been completely transformed and restored to their former glory.
They will be occupied from 13th March 2019 by postgraduate students from the School of Social and Political Science, one of the largest schools at the University.
The 14 month project was carried out by the Estates Department. Building Conservation Manager, David Casey explains: “The building presented us with a significant conservation challenge. We wanted to restore as many of its original features as possible so it would be harmonious with the heritage of its surroundings. Originally two townhouses, numbers 27-28, they had been knocked together to form one building and over the years the interior spaces had been changed around quite a bit. We were delighted to be given the opportunity to restore the building as sympathetically as possible and create a space that invites learning and collaboration.”
David and his team repaired damaged cornices and ceiling roses, dados, skirting boards and reinstated many of the original fireplaces. Work to the exterior of the building has included overhauling the Georgian sash windows and replacing the astragal panes in the original wooden window frames. The roof has been reslated, the dormer windows rebuilt and chimneys repaired.
New LED high efficiency lighting has been installed throughout the building incorporating movement sensor controlled lights. Period style radiators have been installed and high efficiency, energy saving condenser boiler units have replaced the previous central heating system. Tradition column radiators have been used throughout.
Students from the School of Social and Political Science were consulted on the décor for the building and they chose the ‘Georgian’ blue wall colour in the main stairwells along with other wall colours, floor coverings, furniture and blinds.
PHD Student, Alice Nagle said: “In the course of planning for this project, I think the team saw an opportunity, with these gorgeous historic houses, to do something a bit different with the interior. The wall colours were chosen with the aim of creating a calm atmosphere and to maximise natural light. We tried to stay true to the original look of the rooms, to emphasise that these were once homes. Writing up students spend so much time in their offices, so we wanted to make them feel as at home as possible.”
One very important aspect of the renovation project was to bring the building up to modern health and safety standards so a new fire alarm system has been installed, the fire doors upgraded and fire escape routes clearly marked.
The building also boasts three kitchen areas and student breakout spaces in the basement together with gender neutral toilets.
Professor Linda Mckie, Dean and Head of the School of Social and Political Science, said: “This is a proud moment for the school and our postgraduate community. The opening of the buildings heralds a new stage in our provision for postgraduate colleagues and their research and study needs.”
Students will move into the building on 13th March and it is anticipated that it will be used by around 110 post graduates.