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The Beresford Building

An Art Deco Marvel and Glasgow’s first skyscraper hotel

In June of 1938 the Beresford Building opened its doors on what had previously been the yard of a large mansion house. The architect William Beresford Inglis (died 1967) was based in offices nearby in Blythswood Square. He is also responsible for leading on the design of several iconic Art Deco cinemas in the city including in Muirend and Anniesland.

The building stands at number four hundred and three Sauchiehall street in Glasgow. It is a classic example of Art Deco architecture in the city centre. It was described as being the city’s first ever skyscraper hotel and, with the long, clean elegant lines drawing your eye skyward it is not difficult to tell why. The tell-tale long rectangular panes of glass in the windows, elegant simplicity, material choice and no-nonsense curves unapologetically scream Deco and roar with the same confidence of era. The building is constructed using reenforced concrete. The revelation is in the classic Deco ceramic ware with the exterior being clad in red, black and mustard (originally, now white) Faïence.The ceramics have been made using tin glaze and a pale earthenware.

The hotel’s roof originally had kennels so that wealthy guests could ensure their dogs where well catered for while they took in the rights, sounds and wonders of the Empire Exhibition which opened on 3 May 1938. Inside the accommodation surrounded a ‘light-well’ which drew natural light throughout the building. On the ground floor a cocktail bar, also designed by Beresford, must have been like something out of the Great Gatsby.

Function today

The ground floor still maintains some of its original function with a public bar being available. The operators of the bar change on a fairly regular basis (currently the Sly Fox, 2017). Also on the ground floor there is a small super market. The upper floors have enjoyed a conversion to become private residences following a fire which saw the student accommodation which had previously been there. During the conversation by architects 3D Reid the internal ‘light-well’ was converted to function as a courtyard with shared services for occupiers.

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The beautiful, urban decay and renewal of the city I love.

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