Glasgow’s Art Deco Heritage 1. The University Chemistry Building

This was where I spent the better waking part of seven years of my life; four as an undergraduate (though there were only one lab per week and one lecture per day in 1st year; with an extra lecture and lab per week in 2nd) and three as a research student doing my Ph. D..

The building is in three main parts, oriented like three wheel spokes radiating out from a central hub. This is to reflect the fact that there were three main branches of Chemistry when it was built, Organic (chemistry of carbon compounds,) Inorganic (all other compounds,) and Physical (things to do with properties like melting point, boiling point, dipole moments, dielectric constants etc.)

There are two main entrances, situated between the central and the flanking blocks. This is one of them.

Here’s a close up on the above doorway so that you can see that officially it’s called The Institute Of Chemistry.

This is a (now disused I think) doorway on the end of a block.

This is part of one of the blocks.

Here’s a view from the rear of the building. As I recall the wooden bit at the top is a later addition.

Slightly to the left of this you can see up to the research labs.

Note the gas cylinders kept outside for safety reasons.

There’s a lovely curved end to the building’s frontage on University Avenue. This section is given over to medical research.

The railings separating this side of the building from University Avenue are nice too.

Editorial note:-
I have already featured the Glasgow buildings the Luma Factory, the Beresford Hotel, the Kelvin Court Flats and the Ascot Cinema under the title Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage since they are such iconic structures.

Edited to add an explanation of the designation, The University Chemistry Building:-
The venerable degree conferring institution which I attended titles itself The University, Glasgow. (When it was founded there was no other in the city, nor would there be for hundreds of years.)

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  1. Craigie

    Like your love of Art Deco Jock and how you are detailing and photographing much of it. I live in New Zealand, formerly of Hawke’s Bay, home of Napier the self-proclaimed Art Deco capital of the world, and now in Wellington which has it’s fair share of impressive public works built in the era. Sometime I will return to Scotland for a visit and will keep my eye out for some of the buildings you’ve highlighted. Craig

  2. jackdeighton

    Thanks Craigie,
    I must confess I’d never heard of Napier (it is on the other side of the world from me so I hope I can be forgiven) but I’ve just looked at some pictures on the web. Wow! It’s got a pretty fair shout to be Art Deco capital of the world. I can’t say because I’ve never been there either but judging by these photos maybe only Miami could push it close.

    For some reason I really like the fountain in Napier.

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