While it was Edinburgh that attracted the nickname The Athens of the North, Glasgow is littered with Classical antecedents in its architecture, too, not least in the surviving examples of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thompson’s churches. So, while the architects’ characterisation of the City of Glasgow College City Campus as ‘an Acropolis’ seems a little overblown, and is as much in half-jokey contrast to its near neighbour the Necropolis Cemetery as anything, such an allusion has form here since the Scottish Enlightenment. And, in more ways than one, the urban significance of this building justifies that moniker.
Most obviously this is in its physical presence, sitting like a gleaming white crust above the city centre, where the Merchant City district’s grid leaches into the more informally laid-out streets around the cathedral.
It is a huge building and necessarily so: it needs to accommodate 40,000 students across six major faculties, with more than 800 distinct learning spaces.