Glasgow council grants planning permission for Cooper Cromar’s 39-storey, £100m Elphinstone Place

Heading north: At 134 m, Elphinstone Place will be 9 m taller than Glasgow Science Centre’s Millennium Tower
Heading north: At 134 m, Elphinstone Place will be 9 m taller than Glasgow Science Centre’s Millennium Tower

Architect Cooper Cromar has received planning permission for what will be the tallest building in Scotland.

Elphinstone Place in Glasgow will have 39 storeys and will stretch for 134 m. This is 9 m higher than the Scotland’s current highest structure, the Millennium Tower at the science centre in the same city. It is still some way short of the British record, however, which is held by the 235 m One Canada Square at Canary Wharf in London Docklands.

Developed by the Elphinstone Group, the £100m building will comprise 202 apartments, four penthouses and 263 car parking spaces. It also includes a 20,000 m2 seven-storey block which will contain office and retail space.

Cooper Cromar has recently tweaked the designs by changing the cladding from blue to turquoise and removing a sheath of glass that enclosed the original. The atrium is thought to be inspired by Foster and Partners’ Tower Place in the City of London.

The 1.4 acre site is the former Strathclyde regional council offices off St Vincent Street, next to the M8 motorway. The site is now owned by Glasgow council. Elphinstone has been working closely with the council to develop a scheme that would be a spur to the regeneration of the area. The tower would act as a “gateway” into Glasgow city centre from the airport, where it could be joined in the coming years by several other medium to high-rise structures.

However, as project architect Alan Stark explained, the height benchmark being set by Cooper Cromar is unlikely to be bettered in Glasgow because buildings must stay below the radar ceiling for Glasgow airport. “Thirty-nine stories is pretty much the highest you can go without contravening the regulations,” Stark says. The tower will be less than a foot short of the ceiling.

However, Elphinstone Place may well be surpassed elsewhere in Scotland – rumours abound that some of the towers springing up in Edinburgh’s Leith district could exceed 40 storeys. May the battle commence …