William Young, architect, 1882-1888, interior 1887-1890. Contractors, Morrison and Mason. Sculpture by John Mossman and George Lawson. An emphatic statement of Civic pride and prosperity the City Chambers occupies the whole block site between George Square and John Street, its 4 facades all equally opulent in detail. Their style is eclectic, mainly rich Italianate with Roman and Venetian references, and some Flemish overtones. In 1912 Watson and Salmond built a large extension to the E linked by pairs of archways across John Street (see separate item). Each elevation is faced in light polished ashlar now stonecleaned, Polmaise and Unmore stone fronting a fireproof framework
of brick, iron, steel and concrete. Polished pink granite basecourse, ashlar all rusticated at ground and 1st. 4-storeys and attics, end bays advanced and taller, finished with cupola, 4-stage tower to centre W.
MAIN (W) ELEVATION: 1-3-5-3-1 bay pattern with end and centre 5 bays advanced. Central 3 bays project further with 3 tiers of paired Ionic columns supporting entablature and balustraded balcony at 2nd and 3rd, pediment over 3rd. 3 tall round-arched keystoned doorways. Central door taller, all with pilastered reveals, moulded archivolt and elaborate carved spandrels, decorative wrought iron outer gates. End bays have tripartite pilastered windows to ground and 1st floors, flanked by giant Ionic pilasters supporting round arched pediment which breaks through 2nd floor cills. Intermediate bays have single light pilastered windows. 2nd floor (the main public and committee rooms) has almost continuous row of Venetian windows flanked by paired Corinthian columns, pilasters at end bays, elaborately carved spandrels. 3rd floor, centre and end bays again with Venetians, intermediate bays with small single windows almost hidden behind balustrated balcony. All windows with multi-pane glazing. Cornice over ground, die balustrade balcony to 2nd and 3rd floor cills, at 3rd supporting bronze statues.
Pediment to centre 3 bays, tympanum densely populated with sculpture representing Queen Victoria and personifications of the United Kingdom receiving the world's homage. Pediment flanked by square section cupolas with domes. To end bays sculptured figures at angles, octagonal tempiettos. Intermediate bays have mutuled eaves cornice with balustraded parapet. Slate roofs, tall corniced axial stacks.
GEORGE STREET (N) ELEVATION: symmetrical layout, 1-3-3-3-1 baying pattern, end and centre 3 bays advanced and taller, intermediate bays with simpler single light windows. Masonry and detailing (especially end bays) similar to main facade. Centre 3 bays advanced (to give prominence to their function as banqueting halls) with giant Venetians to 2nd, elaborate carvings fill spandrels. Each giant Venetian is flanked by full height paired fluted Corinthian columns supporting projecting individual entablature with statue groups. 3rd floor windows single light recessed behind balustrade.
COCHRANE STREET (S) ELEVATION: 1-4-5-4-1 baying pattern. Masonry and details similar to main facade. 2nd floor windows in pedimented aedicules, centre 5 bays advanced with round-arched pend entrance to centre with elaborate wrought-iron gates and coffered ceiling. Above rise paired partly fluted giant Corinthian columns in antis flanking tripartite window. 3rd floor as main facade with oculi to centre. Panelled parapet to centre flanked by square section domed cupola.
JOHN STREET (E) ELEVATION: 1-4-5-4-1 baying pattern with Watson and Salmond's paired archways adjoining at penultimate bays. Details simplified, to 3rd floor small "attic" windows flanked by giant fluted consoles. Pediment over centre 3 bays.
TOWER: 3-stage square section tower centrally placed behind main pediment. Banded lower stage, arcaded above 1st, pedimented aedicule to 3rd. Above rises colonnaded lantern and dome with gilded weather vane.
INTERIOR: richly and elaborately detailed in the finest materials. The main hall or loggia has ceramic mosaic floor and vaults. Large stone doorcases give access to lower rooms, those to the staircases flanked by Mossman caryatids. Most elaborate is the stair to the Banqueting Hall using polychrome Brescia and black Irish marble and Numidian mosaics to the vaults. The Banqueting Hall (to the N) is a barrel vaulted double height room, decoration designed by Leiper with murals by the "Glasgow Boys", Walton, Lavery, Henry and Roche. The decoration of the other rooms is hardly less opulent, the Council Chamber being the least ornate, with more sober mahogany panelling, a frieze of Tynecastle Tapestry and gilded ceiling with central dome.
Wylie and Lochead were responsible for much interior work, Stephen Adam for the glass. Sculptors were Mossman, Lawson, Farmer and Brindley, Charles Grassey and Edward Good. Ironwork was by George Adam.
4 LAMP BRACKETS TO GEORGE SQUARE: 4 ornate cast-iron lamp
Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.
We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.
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