Revolution or evolution in George Square?

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DESIGNS for a radical revamp of George Square have gone on public display this week ahead of a judges’ decision — and provoked a strong reaction among Extra readers.

The six shortlisted entries were chosen from 35 international bidders, all hoping to redevelop the city centre space to a cost of £15 million.

They include Agence Ter (From France) Burns + Nice, Gustafson Porter, jmarchitects and John McAslan & Partners (all UK) as well as James Corner Field Operations (USA).

Entries from each went on public display at The Lighthouse in Mitchell Lane yesterday (Wednesday), and are available to view Monday-Saturday 10.30am-5pm and Sunday, 12-5pm.

The winner will be announced next Friday (January 18) by a panel of judges comprises of architects, professors and Glasgow city council leader Gordon Matheson.

Councillor Matheson commented: “The calibre of the six designs is very high, and I’m sure whichever design team is chosen, Glaswegians will have a George Square to be proud of again.

“It is absolutely essential we choose the right team to create a new George Square – a square fit for the 21st century. I look forward to working closely with the winning team to develop their design and give the people and businesses of Glasgow the George Square they deserve”.

Many Glasgow residents have taken to social media to express their opinion about the shortlisted entries, some of which do not show the statues currently on display at the square — and more have complained about a lack of consultation with the public.

Campaign group Restore George Square tweeted: “George Square is a public space and should be for Glaswegians, not ‘other stakeholders’.

“Businesses get a survey months ago. Glaswegians get a survey after all key decisions have been made”.

A quick poll of Extra readers shows further disappointment at the unveiled entries, with AJ Heavey, from Barrhead, commenting on Facebook: “They’re terrible – and I’m not happy about them removing the statues either.

“Personally, I’d rather they restore it to the public green space it used to be”.

Pam Heap added: “They have an opportunity to link the square with the buildings surrounding it and create a bustling square and none of the entries appear to have done this — get rid of the traffic”.

Eddie Barron agreed, complaining about the removal of statues which are “a part of Scottish history”.

Glasgow city council anticipates that the redevelopment work at George Square will be carried out in two stages, with the first set for completion before the Commonwealth Games in 2014.