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Page\Park submits plans for new Scottish Opera HQ in Glasgow

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The practice is proposing the new mixed-use development, which also includes student housing, for a brownfield site next to the city’s Forth & Clyde Canal known as New Rotterdam Wharf.

The site comprises two separate but connected areas of land, both owned freehold by Scottish Opera, housing the company’s existing production studios in an ‘industrial shed’ and related service yards, according to a design and access statement.

Scottish Opera said the development would involve ‘rationalising and consolidating three of its current, scattered five premises on to one site’ to create ‘a coherent scheme of regeneration’ for the area. 

In the design and access statement, Page\Park said its concept imagined the site as a deconstructed theatre, creating a journey through a series of interlinked and sequenced spaces.

It would include ‘state of the art’ rehearsal and performance spaces, which would be adaptable to become a film sound stage, according to the opera company, which is Scotland’s largest performing arts organisation.

These would be complemented by classrooms, music practice rooms for hire, a large costume store for theatre, TV and film productions, a music library, and a café with panoramic views over the city.

Source:Page\Park/Scottish Opera

Page\Park’s designs for a new Scottish Opera HQ in Glasgow

Sitting alongside the café, a rooftop ‘hidden garden’ would be accessible to members of the public via bridge links from the canal towpath.

The student housing element would incorporate 700 beds in two blocks on two parcels of land either end of the site. Scottish Opera has sold this land to a purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) developer to help fund the scheme. 

The opera company said further public realm improvements to the western edge of the Forth and Clyde Canal would also be central to its proposals.

The New Rotterdam Wharf site has been vacant since the 1980s, and was previously the subject of never-realised design proposals by RMJM architects and Bradford Robertson Architects in 2006. In 2020, Stallan Brand ARchitects drew up plans for student housing but these were refused at planning committee. 

The site also sits within a masterplan drawn up by Make Architects (and later 7N Architects) and adopted by Glasgow City Council in 2008. This established a ‘principle of change’ for the area, according to a design and access statement.

Scottish Opera acquired the site in 2020, using it to host a series of outdoor productions during the pandemic. 

Page\Park, which has offices in Glasgow and Leeds, submitted a full planning application to Glasgow City Council in April.

The practice previously designed a foyer extension for Scottish Opera in Glasgow’s A-listed Theatre Royal.

It said the New Rotterdam Wharf site ‘desperately needs a development such as this to bring 24/7 life and activity to the canal side’. And it said the project would build on the existing cultural quarter in the area.

A spokesperson said Page\Park’s approach ‘places people at the heart of proposals, with high-quality public realm in and around the site, and enhanced connections up to the canal edge – one of Glasgow’s best and least known public open spaces.’

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