Student housing development at GSA rejected

Proposals to build a student housing development adjoining the world-renowned Glasgow School of Art (GSA) campus have been rejected by planners.

Campaigners who had argued that the seven-storey block would have restricted daylight, and would have obscured much of the A-listed building’s south facade welcomed the news.

Also reacting to the news, a spokesman for Haus architects said its design had aimed to enhance a negative view of the building’s gable end.

But Jane Sutherland, chairwoman of the Garnethill Community Council, had made a plea to the local authority to reject the proposed building.

She said it would be like parking “an ice-cream cart in front of the Mona Lisa”.

Siding with objectors, Glasgow City Council planning committee ruled 12 to six against the plans, ending a long running dispute over the project that had seen it eventually recommended for approval by planning officials after the project was reduced by one floor.

Plans by developers Urban Pulse had included the demolition of the former Jumpin’ Jaks nightclub on Sauchiehall Street and the inclusion of roof gardens, study rooms, common areas and a cinema room.

At street level it was proposed to reinstate the retail and leisure units currently located on the popular thoroughfare into the city, as well as providing improvements to the public realm along Dalhousie Street.

The revised plans submitted by Haus Architects had the proposed building at be seven-storeys high, one storey shorter than the original design which was unveiled in August last year.

Sauchiehall Street student flats 2

The number of flats had also been reduced from 185 to 181 while the alterations also aimed to increase visibility of the Mack’s southern gable, increasing the amount of light able to reach the school in the process.

Haus said the move was made to placate the Glasgow School of Art which had voiced objections on the grounds of overdevelopment and “harmful impact” on Mackintosh’s masterpiece.

The architects said: “To increase the light and visibility we have removed the top floor of the proposal, which is now seven storeys of student residential above the ground floor retail. To strengthen the horizontal datum along Sauchiehall Street we have removed the step on the western side and levelled out the fourth floor to be consistent.”

Sauchiehall Street student flats 3

The planning application noted the current building’s “negative impact on the character of the Conservation Area”.

GSA had raised an objection to the proposed development behind the Mackintosh building, which was damaged in a fire in 2014.

A spokeswoman said that restricting light into the building would undermine students’ experience of the interior.

She added that Mackintosh-designed buildings as a whole, and the view of the building’s south facade, was just as important as any other part of the building.

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