294 Sauchiehall Street

Creating a qualitative city centre living environment for 181 students adjoining one of Scotland’s greatest landmarks.

The site, currently occupied by the vacant Jumping Jaks nightclub, has inspired debate and discourse as a result of its adjacency to the Mackintosh School of Art building, a Grade A listed landmark. Working in close collaboration with key stakeholders, including Glasgow City Council and Historic Environment Scotland, we have developed a proposal for the site that is both sympathetic to its surroundings and thoroughly informed by comprehensive research.

    The existing building currently offers little to the character and setting of the Central Conservation Area. The existing massing datums restrict views deep within the urban block. Furthermore, it breaks the established building line consistent with the Dalhousie Street edge.

    Full demolition of the existing building is proposed creating a clear development site.

    Key datum lines established on Sauchiehall Street and Dalhousie Street. Key Datum lines include:
    - Single storey retail datum
    - 3 storey roof line
    - Topographical building step on Dalhousie Street

    Massing extents within the depth of site respond to the key visual perspective from street level. The steps respond to the topographical language of Dalhousie Street while maintaining key views to the rear roofscape of GSA responding to ongoing dialogue with Historic Scotland.

    Creating a qualitative city centre living environment requires sensible use of building form to maximise daylight at the heart of any urban plot whilst responding to the urban morphology of Glasgow.

    Key building access from Dalhousie Street for students and activated commercial uses at ground floor to Sauchiehall Street contribute to increased footfall within improved public realm. The building mass is subtly recessed at the junction with Glasgow School of Art, creating relief between new and old.

    Placement of external student amenity space is considered to allow benefit of tiered south facing external roof spaces providing both qualitative views south for students and activated roof line from the city.

    Following planning consultation, further consideration was given to the height and massing distribution of the building. The top storey was removed to enhance visibility of the rear façade of the Mackintosh Building with the floor space relocated to the fourth floor on Sauchiehall Street.

    Re-distribution of massing and a rationalised response to the key datum lines and topography results in a simplification and strengthening of the tiered massing.

The proposal comprises a 181 bed student residence with associated residential amenities and large central lightwell that draws south light into the centre of the scheme, whilst commercial uses address Sauchiehall Street and Dalhousie Street at ground level to perpetuate the existing language of these street edges. The tiered massing volume addresses the prominent corner intersection, stepping in height to react to the topography and established datum lines of its context whilst creating cascading external terraces activate roof level.

The arrangement of the building mass completes the urban block, whilst considerable care has been taken to establish visual and physical permeability across the levels of the proposed building section, both internal-out and external-in, to activate the building and reinforce the sense of place for residents.


The composition responds sensitively to the urban context whilst addressing key environmental performance criteria.

Materiality has been developed to respond to the quality threshold established by the existing historic character and proximate listed buildings, acknowledging the location of the proposal within the Central Conservation Area. Precast stone panels are contrasted against recessed copper rainscreen infills that express window sections, with weight of material focused at the base and alleviated as the building rises to create visual interest from street level.

A main student entrance is located off Dalhousie Street, supported by improved strengthening links in the public realm such as a newly introduced urban stair that traverses the severe incline of Dalhousie Street and improves accessibility to the Glasgow School of Art campus. A large reception space leads directly into the central lightwell and circulation cores beyond.

Studio apartments arranged around the street periphery of the block are presented with an aspect into the City, whilst those onlooking the central lightwell benefit from south views into this intimate space that isolates them from the hustle and bustle of the street. Careful consideration was given to the required mix and quantum of accommodation to maximise development flexibility for the client and to ensure a deliverable and sustainable proposal in current and future market context.

Residents have access to a wealth of amenities that include gym, cinema and private study spaces, in addition to external rooftop terraces that offer informal gathering spaces with a unique aspect to the wider City from their elevated position above street level.



GRS Distribution Ltd + Urban Pulse






181 Beds


Planning Consultant : GVA
Consultation : The BIG Partnership
Civil + Structural :
Prime Structural Solutions
M+E : Butler Consulting
Quantity Surveyor : DMA Partnership