Nearly 275 kilos of explosives brought down the first Red Road tower block this past weekend, marking the beginning of a controlled demolition process that will completely remove the infamous residential complex from the Glasgow skyline by 2017. In a response to the post-war housing crisis, the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) flats were constructed between 1964 and 1969 in an effort to provide the ultimate modern community for almost 5000 residents. Continue reading for more on the iconic Red Road flats and a video of the demolition.
What started off as a simple housing plan, consisting of four-story blocks, turned quickly into somewhat of an architectural experiment as the Red Road flats rose to 25 and 31 stories tall. Measuring at a height of 292 feet (89m) made them the tallest residential structures in Europe. The Red Road vision was led by architect Sam Bunton and promised modern communal living complete with shops, pubs and even a 1000-seater underground bingo hall known as The Brigg. Although at first the residential complex was cherished by many, it quickly transitioned into a “dumping ground” that symbolized poverty and alienation – the very thing in which the blocks were designed to escape – as described by the BBC.
In just 43 years, the Red Road blocks’ shortly triumphed and then failed miserably. Despite these failures, the high rise residential towers have fascinated many and have earned a place in Glasgow’s history. Additionally, their tragic story has inspired a film and a novel, while capturing attention from many photographers and artists. It will take sometime for the city of Glasgow to adjust to their new skyline. The future of the site will now be discussed with Glasgow City Council. As reported by BD Online, the bottom flats of the three-block tower remained undisturbed after the implosion due to the steel-frame structure. These floors will be demolished via machines. The remaining seven towers will be demolished by 2017 as planned.