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Olympia, Bridgeton, Glasgow

Olympia, Bridgeton, Glasgow

The sandstone facade of this landmark building was retained and repaired


A landmark building, the former Olympia Theatre is located at the heart of Bridgeton Cross in Glasgow’s East End. Following its initial use as a theatre, the Olympia became a cinema in 1924 and was well used by the community until it closed in 1974. It then became a bingo hall and a furniture store until it became derelict in the 1990's.

The Olympia is category B listed, so the sandstone façade was retained and repaired as part of the redevelopment. A new four storey steel framed structure was constructed behind it, to house a library, café, sports facility and office accommodation. 

The redeveloped Olympia has achieved a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating and demonstrates how an old building can be brought back into use. Bridgeton Cross has been rejuvenated by the reopening of the Olympia, which is now a community hub. Sustainable design has resulted in an efficient building with low running costs.


The Olympia building has been redeveloped with the creation of four new floors to the rear while retaining the existing Grade B listed façade at the front.

Resource Efficiency

The existing rear of the building was demolished and materials reclaimed for use as infill. The iconic front façade was retained and carefully repaired and restored. The original cupola was removed for repair; 40% of the original dome structure was reclaimed.


Image: Original cupola removed for repair

The Olympia redevelopment was designed to be low impact and innovative. Key features adopted include:

  • Recycling and reuse of materials
  • Increased levels of insulation (22% greater than current Building Regulation requirements)
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Maximising natural lighting and ventilation
  • Occupancy sensors on electric lighting
  • Water efficiency: low flush toilets
  • Gas combined heat and power (CHP) system linked to underfloor heating
  • Glazing with solar controls
  • BMS (Building Management System) to monitor energy consumption


The Olympia building at all stages achieved a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating and has an EPC of B.

Resource Efficiency

Steps were taken during construction to reduce the impact the redeveloped Olympia would have on the environment. These centred round resource efficiency, by retaining the existing façade and reusing demolition materials on-site. Other construction wastes were segregated and recycled.


Construction Assessments

A series of assessments were also undertaken to ensure the construction work would not impact adversely affect the surrounding area. These included:

  • Acoustic assessment
  • Ecological impact assessment
  • Transport assessment.

The contractors also implemented an Environmental Management System for the site.


Economic and Social Benefits

A series of social and economic measures were also adopted throughout the redevelopment process, which benefit the construction, the end product and the local community. These include,

Job Creation and Education:

  • The creation of six new jobs through the construction process
  • Appointing local sub-contractors where possible
  • Ninety school and college construction site visits were conducted
  • Community site visits to construction site held


Arts and Heritage:

  • A dedicated arts and heritage office was employed to deliver projects over a 2 year period
  • Conservation Area status was achieved
  • History detectives were appointed to research the history of Olympia
  • The local community helped produce short films and photo displays


Travel Considerations:

  • A green travel plan was created for Olympia


Community engagement and press:

  • A new Olympia website is created
  • A local newsletter is produced
  • Regular press releases highlighted progress.


Prior to completion in 2012, the ground floor was pre-let to a public library and community learning centre with a café. The first floor was pre-let to a National Sporting Body. The remaining two floors offer high quality office accommodation for let.

The Olympia redevelopment cost approximately £2,600 per sq. m., including construction, service and external work costs. The gross floor area is 3,623 sq. m.


Post completion performance is currently being assessed. Occupant consultations are also being conducted to gain tenant views on the newly developed Olympia.

Key performance indicators that the development team wish to assess are:

  • Findings from the contractors Environmental Management System
  • Recycling rates of demolition material
  • Recycling rates of construction waste
  • Monitoring of construction and in-use energy consumption and CO2 emissions
  • Monitoring of construction and in-use water consumption.



Clyde Gateway


Resource Efficient Scotland supported the preparation and presentation of this case study for the Retrofit Scotland website.


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