HIGH-Rise Canalside Student Towers Included In Scottish Opera Proposal

3 April, 2024 | Arts, Leisure, Entertainment and Sport, Student Accommodation, Glasgow's Canal

SCOTTISH Opera has submitted detailed designs for a major development at its site beside Glasgow’s canal, including multi-storey student accommodation blocks and rehearsal/performance and film facilities.

The New Rotterdam Wharf project involves vacant land beside Scottish Opera’s current productions studios base at 40 Edington Street, just north of the city centre.

Above, how the development would look.
The site currently

If approved by city planners, the mixed-use development would provide music rehearsal and performance spaces and film facilities, general industrial and office and production space, retail, food and drink, plus two student accommodation blocks with a total of 700 bed spaces.

One student residence would have 20 floors and the other 13 floors. There would be exyensive landscaping and public realm work, including a publicly accessible roof garden.

Scottish Opera hope to fast-track the project so that it is ready in August 2027 for academic year 2027/28. A 25-month build programme is anticipated, requiring a planning decision to be made around August 2024 so that work could start on site in March 2025.

A design document included with the planning application states: “There will be significant artistic and organisational benefits to Scottish Opera resulting from the consolidation of company activity on a single site, alongside a general (and welcome) enhancement of the Speirs Wharf and New Rotterdam Wharf area.

“The proposals also take on board the potential accommodation requirements of other cultural organisations and training provisions to provide a series of spaces that can be shared to ensure maximum efficiency and eliminate duplication of rehearsal space and other core facilities.

“In addition to the proposed Scottish Opera facilities, Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) is proposed on the remainder of the platform site, offering a 24/7 activation of this vital and vibrant canalside regeneration area.

“The PBSA proposals form an integral component of the funding model to realise the Scottish Opera facility and the significant public realm improvements surrounding the site.

The document also states: “A key driver for the location and orientation of the blocks on the New Rotterdam Wharf site and their massing has been to preserve views of Speirs Wharf.

“By centrally locating the lower Scottish Opera building, this preserves views to and from the upper levels of Speirs Wharf. The pavilion elements that sit above the plinth extend to a similar height to the trees adjacent to the towpath to minimise their visual impact.

“The [student accomodation] blocks ‘bookend’ the site and are orientated east-west to minimise the visual impact on the setting of Speirs Wharf behind. These blocks frame the view of Speirs Wharf from the west.

“It is noted and recognised that historically the Speirs Wharf range of warehouse buildings looked over other significant structures to the west and were not afforded the visual prominence they enjoy today.”

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