North Rotunda


Proposal to re-imagine Glasgow North Rotunda as a multi-function entertainment hub


Entertainment venue


Forest Group


On the drawing board

It is proposed to re-imagine the North Rotunda as a multi-function entertainment building with a new ground-floor bar, restaurant and venue at its heart. This is then complimented with a large function space which will sit below the newly revealed and iconic domed roof of the Rotunda. Our concept design invokes the spirit of the industrial age with a contemporary take on the decorative ironwork created by the Saracen Foundry and others.

The Category B-listed North Rotunda is a twin of the recently refurbished South Rotunda located across the Clyde. Both were built to facilitate access to three parallel tunnels which ran below the Clyde (historically two vehicles and one pedestrian) — They have sat for over 120 years on the Clyde side and are now an iconic part of Glasgow's industrial maritime history.

Our concept design invokes the spirit of the industrial age with a contemporary take on the decorative ironwork created by the Saracen Foundry and others.

North Rotunda Glasgow Concept Sketch

The North Rotunda is a beautiful old building with some lovely features, either covered up completely or worse, rotting away. We want to restore it and we have worked hard to come up with a design which enhances and showcases those features.

Keith Vallance

Forrest Group

Revealing and celebrating the essence of the Rotunda

To secure the building for future generations, a series of fabric repairs are proposed to the brickwork and stone external walls, we are also proposing a full new roof covering which includes a new 360-degree roof light, topped with a replacement cupola. Internally, our strategy is to strip away as much of the intrusive 1990s internal refurbishment as possible to reveal the Rotunda's original fabric (specifically the internal face of the brick drum and associated stone details).

Historically, the Rotunda was 'unfinished' internally with exposed brick walls and stone detailing, as well as the exposed cast-iron structure of the domed roof and lift mechanisms. We propose to reveal and celebrate as much of these original features as possible.

Bringing a neglected historic listed building back into sustainable and productive use

To facilitate the reinvigoration of the North Rotunda, a small single-storey extension is proposed - The curved form of which echoes the radial geometry of the existing Rotunda — which is emphasised by a series of vertical fins and panels. A new stair tower will crest above the parapet level of the Rotunda and facilitate access to all levels — this is seen as an echo of the (demolished) historic hydraulic lifting tower which once stood there. Within the curved single-storey extension is a panoramic slot window which provides views out to the iconic buildings of the SEC campus.

As a key industrial heritage asset for Glasgow, the proposals seek to bring this neglected historic building back into sustainable and productive use, preserving its unique character, architectural and historic nature, whilst supporting the transition to net zero and ensuring resilience to current and future impacts of climate change.

Glasgow is a city of hospitality, culture, entertainment and creativity with a heritage of industry, engineering, architecture and the arts. All of the above seem to be represented in the historic North Rotunda.
As our team is busy working on projects across Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, it's great to also work on a project in our home city.

Ian Burleigh

Executive Chairman, Ica.

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