BOAC Offices, Buchanan St, Glasgow (Gillespie, Kidd and Coia)

Scope and Content

Job files, images and drawings related to project.

Administrative / Biographical History

Half a city block in size, the site of the British Overseas Airline Company (BOAC) formed the side of Buchanan St from Gordon St to Vincent St & consisted of four separate buildings, three of which had impressive Victorian facades including a fine tower on the corner of Gordon St & Buchanan St. The existing buildings were narrow in depth behind the facades and consisted of a large number of small rooms on varying levels quite unsuitable for the organisational needs of modern banking and office premises.

The intention of the re-development was to organise all the banking facilities into a single working unit & to relocate the lettable offices in a separate unit, both having large flat floor areas suitable for modern departmental management. A further intention was to provide a superior retail shopping arcade of a character to be found at the time on Buchanan St.

While allowing the new accommodation to express itself on the street in order to provide the vital image quality a new and invigorated Glasgow needed, a serious effort was also made to not merely preserve those Victorian facades which were considered of merit & which related to the street contextually, but to creatively utilise them as positive elements in their own right in the complex. Thus the Gordon St facade & tower formed an imposing facade to the bank offices as a counterpoint to the sparkling new glass facade facing the sunk garden in Buchanan St & similarly, the Commercial Bank facade to St Vincent St stood like a triumphal arch framing the entrance to the new arcade, inviting penetration through the block to Gordon St and to the main banking hall. The corner in particular, strengthened the contextual relationship of the new project & the existing city streets as did the retained tower at the other side of the site.

The intention was to provide a generous treed, planted & fountained sitting out area served by cafes, pubs & restaurants facing the sun as a resting place, exhibition space, meeting space in a pedestrianised Buchanan St bounded by two storey speciality shopping mall, & a winter garden type glass house to provide winter sitting out space of the pavement on wet days & providing the possibility of balcony cafes & restaurants.


The material has been arranged using original Gillespie Kidd and Coia project reference codes.

Access Information

Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections are open for research by appointment.


Catalogued by Tracy Wilkinson, GKC Project Archivist

Conditions Governing Use

Application for permission to quote should be sent to the Glasgow School of Art Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections standard procedures.

Geographical Names