The Scottish city’s iconic crane wins International Award for Architecture for new visitor centre
As the strongest symbol of Glasgow’s industrial heritage the Titan Crane is well-loved in Scotland’s largest city. But following the addition of its visitor centre, designed by Collective Architecture, the structure is also receiving commendation from over-seas as it receives the prestigious Award for Architecture from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum.
Standing 150 feet above ground level the Titan been a key feature on the banks of the River Clyde since its construction in 1907. Collective Architecture's involvement in the project began in January 2003, having won a competition to
develop a lighting strategy for the Titan Clydebank. It soon became apparent that The Titan’s historical
and cultural importance merited full restoration, with the potential to attract serious funding: in addition to
being an iconic monument for Clydebank, it could also become a unique visitor attraction.
The restoration involved shot-blasting the old paint and rust to bring the structure back to bare steel
before applying primer coats and a final top coat. The new stair and lift shafts are steel frames clad in a
robust aluminium cladding to reference the industrial heritage of the site. The lift shaft is punctured with
tall windows providing spectacular glimpses of the existing structure during ascent. The viewing platform
is enclosed with a fine cable net fence and floored with an open mesh grating allowing visitors to walk
along the jib, 150ft above the River Clyde, and soak in the exhilarating views. The wheelhouse has been
refurbished to allow visitors to experience the huge lifting equipment, while information panels tell the
story of the crane, the shipyard and the people who lived and worked around the Titan.
At night, illumination brings the Titan to life, silhouetting the diagonal structure with coloured and white
light, and casting dramatic shadows on the quayside below.
The Titan is one of 14 British projects to be given the award and will feature as part of an exhibition in Athens in January and February before moving across Europe in June.