Although the building seemed insignificant, its setting was both culturally and contextually pivotal. Situated on the edge of Glasgow’s Queens Park (the third oldest park in the city) and adjacent to the busy high street of Pollockshaws Road, the building is in a transitional place between the built and natural environment.
The existing building, a single-storey rectangular brick block with a pitched slate roof was partially still in use as public toilets. In plan, the building was split into four areas, a store, a WC, an accessible WC, and a larger derelict room.
The concept was to not just insert a café into the derelict part of the plan but to reimagine and revitalise the whole building. The aim was to contribute a new social hub to the already vibrant neighbourhood by establishing a future adaptable building that could enhance both the natural and urban fabric.
Key to the design was the formation of a timber ‘exoskeleton’ that envelopes the building and supports slim larch slats completely transforming the aesthetic, language, and form, creating a contemporary vernacular suited to the parkland setting. The solid outer walls of the new cafe have been replaced with a structural steel frame and floor-to-ceiling glazing to take advantage of the views whilst presenting the passers-by with an inviting and cosy shelter to escape to for a moment of serenity in this bustling part of Glasgow.
The renovation and reimagination of the building have transformed the vacant and unsightly toilet block, delivering a new hub for the locale.