Commonwealth Games Village

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Download: 2012.04.19 GLC 18 Final Project Appraisal
Project data
Project Reference Commonwealth Games Village
Details Athletes Village and Legacy Masterplan
Location Dalmarnock, Glasgow
Use Type Retail / Public Realm / Leisure / Infrastructure / Housing / Civic
Client/Developer Glasgow City Council / City Legacy
Lead Designers RMJM
Planning Authority Glasgow City Council
Planning Ref Planning Permission in Principle and Detailed Planning Permission both consented (Planning Refs: 10/01142/DC, 10/01141/DC)
Issue Date 19/04/2012


This report relates to a final appraisal of the masterplan for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Village. The Games Village will be used initially as accommodation for the athletes competing in the Games and, thereafter, will form a new residential area in the east end of Glasgow. The project was presented at an A&DS Design Forum meeting held on 27th March 2012 in Glasgow.

Previous involvement
A&DS have commented on the project at various stages in its developments as follows:

  • February 2006 – masterplan by RMJM developed in support of Glasgow’s bid for the 2014 Games presented (restricted report issued in March 2006)
  • February 2008 – developing brief for the project and wider plans for the Games presented by GCC following award of the Games to Glasgow in November 2007 (letter issued in March 2008)
  • October 2009 – Games and legacy masterplans presented along with detailed proposals of various spaces and house types (restricted report issued November 2009)
  • May 2010 – detailed development of proposals for the masterplan as submitted for planning application presented (report issued June 2010)

Planning context
Detailed and planning permission in principle applications were approved in September 2010 as follows:

Planning permission in principle for erection of residential (up to 350 units), retail (Class 1) up to 1,000 square meters, commercial (Class 2,3 and 4) up to 2,000 square meters with associated access roads, service and drainage infrastructure, landscaping and outdoor space (Environmental Impact Assessment): and,

Detailed planning application for erection of residential development, residential care home, energy centre and associated roads, service and drainage infrastructure, landscaping and outdoor space (Environmental Impact Assessment).

We were also informed by the Project Team that Infrastructure and Energy Centre site works commenced in October 2011, and that above ground site-works for the housing commenced in January 2012.

1 General

1.1 Previous comments

A&DS has been very supportive of the project when presented to us in the past and we welcome the opportunity to hear how the scheme has developed since our last review in May 2010, and as it moves into its delivery phase on site. Previous comments at that time were made in relation to:

  • Landscaping – requirement for a strategy to be devised that identifies the means for procuring and maintaining key landscaped areas.
  • Connectivity – with existing communities in South Dalmarnock, and in keeping with the taller buildings on Dalmarnock Rd along the south west edge
  • Housing – concern over apparent limited provision of private space within residential blocks to the southwest edge of the site.
  • Design – apprehension over proposals to use different materials to distinguish between private and social housing throughout – favouring a tenure blind solution instead.
  • Energy performance – clarity with whether the homes are to be designed to satisfy 2016 Building Standards through construction or when buildings are converted following the Games.
  • Post games – desire to learn more about how house types will be adapted to easily be converted from athletes accommodation and to suit residents’ needs over time post games regards retrofitting, reduced wastage and internal fabric alterations required and re-use of fixtures and fittings form the 2014 Games.
  • Legacy of the Games – consideration of how any of the structures required as part of the Games could be utilised thereafter as community facilities.

1.2 Design development

The Project Team presented and reported the following on how the project had developed since last reviewed and in response to our previous comments:

  • The development of the 4 ‘character zones’ and a whole site strategy, using scale, common design features and varied block patterns of colours from a standard palette of materials – brick, zinc cladding, roof tiles and timber cladding – to differentiate and give identity to each zone.
  • Development of a carbon reduction strategy for building fabric, to achieve minimum 60% reduction in carbon levels over 2007 levels across the whole site through a variety of energy saving methods including a CHP system to provide heating and hot water to dwellings.
  • Further detail on the design strategy for altering and retrofitting accommodation for 6500 athletes to form 700 new homes and 120 bed Care Home during the overlap between games and legacy stages.
  • Further detail on the proposed Care Home, which has developed to detailed design and production information stage and is currently out to tender.
  • The development and subsequent construction of an Energy Centre at the north end of the site. The facility is now 95% complete on site, and was developed quickly through necessity to provide energy to the adjacent National Indoor Sports Arena (NISA), which is nearing completion, and to assist with production of the timber kit homes. The Energy Centre building is 1-2 storeys high with chimney-stack – clad in a mixture of metal cladding and acoustic louvers at upper levels, and dark brick at lower levels, and incorporating a vertical translucent slot to give the building identity at night. Fuel source is via 4 gas boilers to provide hot water and power to the site.
  • Site progress for Phase 1 – below ground works are complete and timber kits are now going up.
  • Beyond 2015 – connectivity with South Dalmarnock to the southwest is being considered and previous comments with regards to scale of development are being taken on board and will be focused on in the second phase. The area will be developed primarily as family housing with private gardens to compliment surrounding residential developments. Key benefits to the area include opportunities for providing community facilities, reinforcing sense of place and links to the city, and the creation of high quality living accommodation.
  • Landscape – appointment of Landscape consultants in late 2010 to provide a deliverable scheme on the ground, provide a setting for legacy development and respond to the proposed character areas. A series of 7 open spaces that run the length of the Clyde are proposed which will double as passive / active spaces and flood prevention areas. Challenges due to existing levels were noted. Glasgow City Council will take on the management of the larger spaces and those along the Clyde, whilst smaller spaces will be managed by housing association. Current proposals also include screening to the Energy Centre in response to concerns over high visual impact, particularly along the core path route.

2 Scope of project appraisal

2.1 The 2014 Commonwealth Games Facilities are identified in the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 2 (NPF2) as one of the 14 National Developments, and a priority area for A&DS. Having reviewed the project previously on a number of occasions and at various stages through its design development the presentation offered the opportunity for A&DS to give a final appraisal of the project in response to our previous comments above and as its moves forward into delivery stages.

3 Appraisal outcome

3.1 Delivery

It is important that the strength of the original concept in the consented masterplan is being maintained through its delivery on the ground and not diluted, and that opportunities to enhance the character and quality of the development are capitalised on through detailed design. The building designs generally continue to be of a very high standard, however there are some areas of the masterplan, particularly in relation to the strategic design of the landscape, streetscape and open spaces, that we feel require further development, or which were not presented, and it is critical that these continue to be of a high quality to ensure the potential of this national development is delivered.

3.2 Streetscape

We welcome the use of the Scottish Government’s Policy Designing Streets in relation to the design of the streetscape. However, sufficient detail was not presented to understand how this is being interpreted throughout the masterplan and delivered across the different character zones, particularly in terms of the promoting a car free / pedestrian friendly environment as originally envisaged, and to satisfy ourselves that the quality of streetscape previously aspired to is being achieved.

We note that the roads are to be adopted by Glasgow City Council and that the hard surfaces are to be predominantly finished in tarmac, coloured in areas to differentiate between the different character zones. We are concerned that the quality of the hard surfaces is being diluted in this respect and that by introducing more traditional road treatments and standard parking bays in some areas of the masterplan there is the potential for confusion over how shared surfaces are to be used in other areas of the Village. In adopting the roads the Council should ensure that the strength of the original Homezone concept can still be delivered and that community ‘buy-in’ is achieved with regards to the understanding and use of shared surfaces.

3.3 Landscape / Open Space

On the basis of what was presented the landscape designs still appear to be at an early stage relative to the rest of the masterplan, and we are concerned that a number of the open spaces look generic in their design and lack a strong spatial concept, clear identity or relationship to context and character areas. The Project Team should develop a landscape framework drawing to show how the landscape strategy supports the various character areas, how the various open spaces will tie together and how the selection of materials in the landscape can compliment the carefully selected building materials proposed.

We note that the proposed Ceremonial Plaza, at the heart of the masterplan, is to be designed as a formal event space during Games mode, and thereafter developed as a temporary landscape space for a period of time until potential further building development in due course. However, information was not provided to enable assessment of this space and the Council and Project Team should satisfy themselves that the designs for this important space in its various conditions – in Games and Legacy modes – are of a high standard.

3.4 Energy

We are pleased that the new housing and flats are to achieve an Eco-Homes ‘Excellent’ rating. We welcome the use of CHP throughout the development, though the efficiency of this type of energy can be difficult to justify for low-density housing and low energy buildings which do not require much heat. We note however that in addition to servicing the masterplan in Games and Legacy mode, the proposed Energy Centre is intended to service the NISA adjacent, as mentioned above, as well as the triangular site to the north of the Village, which makes the use of CHP much more viable.

3.5 Proposed Retail & Leisure Park on adjacent site

In a previous report on the Commonwealth Games Village Masterplan issued 18th November 2009 we had suggested that it would be useful to see how plans for the proposed hotel site to the north of the masterplan at Springfield Cross / London Road might be incorporated into the village masterplan, to understand and consider how the projects might interrelate. We note that plans for a retail and leisure park on that site by Reiach & Hall Architects have now been submitted for detailed planning approval offering an opportunity to revisit this issue. We were informed by the Council that they have had extensive pre-application discussions with the hotel site Project Team and we trust that the physical relationship between the two schemes, particularly in terms of their relative massing, scale and connectivity along Springfield Road, is being duly considered.

As above we welcome the intention to utilise the Games Village Energy Centre to service the hotel site as a sustainable means of providing energy and hot water to the site.

4 Summary

This is a nationally significant project, and an important catalyst for the regeneration of Glasgow’s east end, and we are pleased to be given the opportunity to offer final comment on the project as it moves into its delivery phases. A&DS has been supportive of the project in the past and it is important that the strength of the original concept of the consented masterplan is being maintained through its delivery on the ground, and that opportunities to enhance the character and quality of the development are capitalised on through its realisation.

The creation of a high quality external environment is essential in terms of how the Games will be experienced by athletes and visitors, and perceived both nationally and internationally, and in order to deliver a quality place for the future residents of the Village beyond 2015. On the basis of what was presented it would appear that further design work is required in relation to the proposed landscape and open spaces. Details of these areas should be developed as part of an overall landscape framework drawing that builds on and links together the proposed character zones. Glasgow City Council should satisfy themselves that the quality of the streetscape and landscape as previously aspired to will be achieved.

We look forward to seeing the completion of this nationally significant project as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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