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Buro Happold completes conversion of Victorian fish market to artist studios

One of Glasgow’s best loved buildings and architectural gems has been given a new breath of life.
Buro Happold completes conversion of Victorian fish market to artist studios
The Briggait Building, a late 19th century former fish market, has undergone a £6million transformation in to a spectacular new visual arts resource for Scotland, funded and managed by the Wasps Trust, in partnership with Wasps Artists' Studios.

International multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Buro Happold has worked to deliver the vision to redevelop the property into a dynamic centre for the production and display of the contemporary visual arts in Scotland as part of Glasgow's ambitious Housing the Visual Arts strategy.

Because of the high levels of glass in the building, the consultancy developed the lighting strategy to suit the building's existing structure and to provide a comfortable yet stimulating environment to provide the artists in residence with high quality studios and a series of different and interesting spaces.

This included fenestration within interior spaces to allow natural light to enter the studios from the original windows above and at night provide views to the lit structure above.

With energy efficiency and artistic needs high on the agenda the abundance of natural light has been harnessed extensively with artists able to take control and monitor their own environments.

A key consideration of the building's refurbishment was the retention of its ambience and rich design history. Buro Happold worked closely with the Trust and architect, Nicoll Russell Studios to maintain these features while adapting the building to its new role as a modern studio space.

Disruption was minimised by forming the new studio constructions within the Briggait's existing shell from lightweight timber structures.

New foundations were constructed as simple raft foundations to spread the loads and minimise differential settlements between new and old, and where possible the existing structures were retained and repaired as necessary.

'There was something particularly rewarding about being able to save this old neglected building, and give it a new lease of life, particularly when the client was so committed to creating a new vibrant community of artists in the centre of the city,' said Buro Happold project director Neil Dely.

The Briggait will provide 69 studios for visual artists, office space for cultural organisations and creative industries, two display/ exhibition spaces, a café and new public space within an historic 1873 courtyard.

Those who invested in the Briggait redevelopment included Glasgow City Council, Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund, Scottish Enterprise Glasgow, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, the Hugh Fraser Foundation and the Mickel Fund and loan finance from ethical lenders, the Triodos Bank.

Project team
Client: The Wasp Trust
Architect: Nicoll Russell Studios
Services provided by Buro Happold: Ground, building services, structural, specialist consulting, infrastructure engineering.
11 August 2010

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