A look at how post-war slum clearances changed the face of Hutchesontown in Glasgow…
Originally an affluent Glasgow suburb, by the 1950s the Gorbals comprised 62 acres of slums with some of the worst residential conditions in Europe. Basil Spence was commissioned to produce 400 new dwellings intended to combat the problems of tenement living.
Inspired by Le Corbusier’s Unité de Habitation, Spence designed two concrete blocks of maisonettes, elevated on splayed pilotis and punctuated by double-height balconies that prompted the nickname “The Hanging Gardens of the Gorbals”. Initially successful as families revelled in their new-found space, the perceived brutality of the high-rise environment combined with the social deprivation of the area led to the building’s demolition in 1993.
Article by Justine Sambrook
Curator, Robert Elwall Photographs Collection, British Architectural Library, RIBA