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Porphyry paving and the Glasgow Financial District

Porphyry paving was incorporated into this project to give it special status. This project comprehensively refurbished the public realm of six streets and formed an essential part of the Broomielaw area’s renaissance as part of the Glasgow International Financial Services District. Since completion, investment in the area has accelerated and new developments are rapidly coming on-stream.

The design delivered new footways paved with natural stone surfacing in porphyry and granite with Scottish whinstone kerbs. Stainless steel furniture, signage and street lighting complemented the pavements and the surrounding buildings. The distinctive historic character of the Broomielaw’s mercantile / maritime warehouses is reflected in the detailed design of streetscape components and in public art, such as the incorporation of fiber optic star constellations, evoking historic methods of maritime navigation, into the stone paving. The star constellations assist in pedestrian ‘navigation’ around the area by identifying a central pedestrian axis through the city blocks as well as being visible from upper floors of new office and business buildings.

Glasgow City Council required that the design quality must exceed previous public realm projects and provide a benchmark for future public realm schemes in the city, drawing inspiration from successful projects elsewhere in Europe and carefully addressing the requirements of various stakeholders. With this support, the design approach delivered a project of singularly high quality.

LUC’s design responds to the area’s historic identity and to its future use as a major international business quarter. It provides subtle differentiation between the individual streets while reinforcing the character of the area as a whole.

As one of Scotland’s largest public realm developments, this wealthy and prestigious area covers approximately 18,000 square meters and has grown in a spectacular manner since 1990 with a multitude of buildings that today contain financial services such as banks, insurance companies, government buildings as well as various shops, bars and restaurants. The economic development aspects have paid off.

A total of 15,000 square meters of porphyry was used including paving tiles with natural quarry surfaces and, in parking areas, 8/10 cm setts and bricks. The purpose was to implement the investment made by the Glasgow City Council, improving the environment of the area, its overview and the appearance of its roads, giving them a more uniform character.

From this standpoint the project envisaged widening sidewalks to facilitate pedestrian paths and, at the same time, improve user comfort and convenience by making paths and automobile parking facilities more efficient.

These tasks were carried out with the expert consultancy of architect Bruno Del Priore, at the time Advisor to the mayor of Scotland’s most populous city.  A project for the new paving and road system for the “Financial District” was able to be developed with the collaboration of the Scotch city’s Town Planning and Roads departments.

Porphyry was chosen because of its wear resistance and its ability to resist the physical stresses in the roads in this area. Porphyry was used together with Whinstone (a locally quarried basalt), widely adopted in the past and also selected because of its longevity.  These two materials, when combined, emphasize in a special way their esthetic features:  Whinstone with its gray green color combines with multi-colored Porphyry.  These colors are highlighted and become particularly evident when the surfaces are made wet by rainfall or, late in the evening, when they are illuminated by streetlights.

Implementation of this project reached the highest levels of laying quality thanks to the special expertise of local layers who strove to do their very best and thanks to the aid of the contractor – Land Engineering LTD – and of architect Del Priore who, set up short training courses for layers.

 

Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  The products are available in North America from Milestone Imports.  –  www.milestoneimports.com