Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NS 56891 66707
256891, 666707


John James Burnet (Burnet, Son and Campbell), 1886, 1893, 1908. English collegiate Gothic style former students' union building. Rectangular-plan around a central covered courtyard. 2-storey with 3-stage NW tower. Squared and snecked stugged sandstone; polished ashlar dressings and window mullions.

MAIN HALL at E end (1886) oriented S-N. 2 x 6 bays 2 and 4-light windows with stone mullions and transoms; plate tracery with cusping to upper windows at SE and N, cusping to smaller windows. Gables to N, SE, and S (1903), latter with stack; canted bay with stepping above 1st floor to S elevation; bellcote over S end. ELEVATION TO UNIVERSITY AVENUE: 1886 continuous in design with hall. 9 bays arranged 5-2-2. Central 5-bay range linking tower to hall; 4-light stone mullioned and transomed windows at ground floor, tripartite windows above; 3-stage squat tower, to left elliptically arched entrance with relief panels over, 2 plain tripartite windows to right; 2 tripartite cusped windows with raked cills above, 1st floor single central bipartite window. 2 x 2-bay gatekeeper's lodge at NW corner with irregular fenestration of varying sizes; dormer, crow-stepped gable to University Avenue. Elliptically-headed entrance with panelled timber door to left. Arched carriage entrance with elliptical central entry flanked by pedestrian arches, stepped parapet. ELEVATION TO W RETURN: 1893. 2-2-2 bays; 2 S bays projecting, central 2-bay outshot; tripartite and bipartite windows. ELEVATION TO S: 1908 5-bay section linked to main hall. Tall 15-light windows to ground floor, small 4-light windows to 2nd floor; arched entrance to SE.

INTERIOR (seen 2010): Numerous original details including decorative plasterwork, timber panelling and stair balustrades, stained and leaded glass, open braced timber roof structures.

Statement of Special Interest

John MacIntyre Building is part of an A-Group with McMillan Reading Room, Gatepiers, Railings, Quincentenary Gates, Hunter Memorial, Pearce Lodge, Thomson Building, James Watt Building, Gilbert Scott Buildings and Lord Kelvin's Sundial.

See separate list descriptions for the adjoining boundary railings, gatepiers and Quincentenary Gates, and also nearby buildings enclosed by the railings, including the Gilbert Scott Building, The Square, Thomson Building, Bower Building, Pearce Lodge, Lord Kelvin's Sundial and Hunter Memorial.

The former Student's Union is an early example of the influential 'Low Look' style in a public building by one of Scotland's premier architects, John James Burnet. This unusual style of long, low ranges with squat pyramid-roofed towers was characteristic of the Burnet practice in the late 1880s and 1890s.

John James Burnet was one of Scotland's leading architects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Son of another architect, John Burnet Senior, he trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Burnet was a pioneer of the stylistic move from historicist styles to a tradition-based, but free-style architecture. He developed enormously successful and influential practices in Glasgow and London, designing a number of eminent buildings including the Fine Art Institute, Athenaeum Theatre, Charing Cross Mansions, Atlantic Chambers and Clyde Navigation Trust Offices in Glasgow and the Kodak Building, the second and third phases of Selfridges, Adelaide House, and the King Edward VII Wing at the British Museum in London. Burnet was knighted for the latter project in 1914. Commissions for the University of Glasgow included: the Bower Building (1900), Anatomical (Thomson) Building (1900-01), James Watt Engineering North Building (1901 and 1908), University Chapel (1923-29), Zoology Building (1923), and Hunter Memorial (1925). The neighbouring Glasgow Western Infirmary also employed Burnet Sr and John James Burnet for a number of projects.

The building is named after Dr John McIntyre, who gifted £5000 in memory of his wife, Ann, towards the construction of a new students' union. The building remained in use as the men's union until 1930, when the current Glasgow University Union building was opened at the corner of University Avenue. In 1932 the Queen Margaret Union moved to the John McIntyre Building. Since 1969, when a new Queen Margaret Union building was constructed in University Gardens, the McIntyre Building has been used as the headquarters of the Student Representative Council.

Formerly listed as '3 Gilmorehill, University of Glasgow, John MacIntyre Building, University Avenue, former Students' Union'.

List description updated as part of review of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus, 2011. The building number is derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007), as published on the University's website



Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan: Glasgow, 1894; Mitchell Library, Dean of Guild Collection, drawings registered 12/08/1886, ref. 1/184; Glasgow University Archives, Drawings Collection Ref. GB 0248 GUA BUL/6/8/1-32; D Walker 'Scotland at the Turn of the Century' in Edwardian Architecture & its Origins (A Service, ed.), (1975) p. 197; C McKean, D Walker, F Walker, Central Glasgow: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Illustrated Architectural Guide, (1989) p. 185; E Williamson, A Riches, M Higgs, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, (1990) p. 341; 'University of Glasgow Students' Union' search at (accessed 03-03-2010).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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