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Red Tree Business Suites and Retail Units, Bridgeton, Glasgow

Red Tree Business Suites and Retail Units, Bridgeton, Glasgow

Transforming two adjacent partially dilapidated 1960’s buildings


Collective Architecture were commissioned to explore options for the transformation of two adjacent 1960’s buildings. While the ground floor was largely occupied with successful local shops, the first and second floors had become dilapidated and redundant.

A key objective was to improve economic opportunities by bringing the vacant parts of the building back in to use, through the creation of affordable, yet high specification office accommodation.

RedTree - Before


The architects initially identified a range of options, incorporating varying degrees of demolition and new build. However, due to the site restrictions (bounded by Bridgeton railway station, railway lines and Dalmarnock Road), and the resulting cost and risk implications, retrofitting was seen as a more viable solution. This case was made further by the wish to not disrupt or relocate the successful local businesses which operate on the ground floor of the buildings. An upper quartile EPC was sought for the completed building.


Existing Building

The existing buildings are of a concrete frame construction, with uninsulated brick cavity walls. Along with single glazed windows, the existing fabric performed poorly thermally and acoustically.

There were a number of challenges related to working with the two buildings, as there were differing floor levels and ceiling heights as well as plan depths to incorporate. This however proved to be of benefit in developing 35 different sized office spaces.

An additional challenge was to undertake the renovation work to the existing buildings whilst ensuring that the businesses at ground floor level were able to remain operational at all times.


Energy Improvement Measures

Following repairs to the existing structure, it was found that the majority of the south facade needed to be replaced and overcladding of the roof was also necessary. This gave the opportunity to improve both the thermal and acoustic performance of the fabric. A layer of insulation was added to all walls, and extra insulation was installed in the roof space, above the existing structure - as this did not affect the internal ceiling heights.

The replacement of the facade allowed for windows to be positioned in a way that allowed for a natural ventilation strategy to be adopted in the majority of the building. Mixed mode and full mechanical ventilation was only utilised in the deeper plan areas.

A solar thermal array was located on the roof, and intelligent lighting measures reduce energy consumption throughout the building.


Aesthetic Improvements

The visual appearance of the two buildings was also a consideration during the retrofit. The front elevation has been regenerated to improve the street facing facade, with the introduction of a black frame for the shop units below the office spaces. 

The rear elevation is also visible from Bridgeton railway station and nearby London Road. Collective Architecture collaborated with Toby Paterson, an internationally renowned artist, to develop a design which would relate to the local area's history of weaving and dying of cloth. They wanted the rear facade to harmonise with the neighbourhood whilst highlighting its presence.

Andrew Lee - Red Tree 3


The main advantages of refurbishing the Red Tree site, rather than adopting a demolition/new build approach are felt by the local community. In particular the businesses on the ground floor, who were already enjoying success, were able to continue to do so throughout the redevelopment and beyond. Several of the business owners are also in the process of upgrading their shops, with financial assistance from Clyde Gateway.

The poor visual condition of the buildings, before the redevelopment, created a negative impression which may have hindered economic development in the area. So it is hoped that the improved aesthetics will encourage further investment in Bridgeton.

The wider community have also benefited from the retrofit work. The community were consulted during the design stage and stories of the building's many previous uses (from store rooms, to Indian restaurants, to snooker halls) were told. The repair and retrofit of the Red Tree buildings will allow the communities stories to continue.

A range of different sized office spaces were created, thanks to the varying plan depth and ceiling heights. These will hopefully appeal to a wide range of tenants.

The completed Red Tree Business Suites achieved an EPC rating of B. The total cost of the project (not including funding for shop upgrades) was £3.6million.


Clyde Gateway, the client for this development, were delighted with the finished building, and noted the many benefits that retrofitting the existing building have brought.

‘The whole redevelopment approach has created a unique, high quality, sustainable development which is now generating positive economic benefits for Bridgeton. These are all factors which could not have been achieved to the same level with a new build on the same site'


Red Tree Business Suites

Clyde Gateway

Collective Architecture


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


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