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25 February 2021

UK award for iconic Queens Cross high rises

Three of Glasgow’s most recognisable high-rise tower blocks have won a major UK architecture award for their energy efficient refurbishment.

The Queens Cross Housing Association flats at St George’s Cross picked up an Architects’ Journal Retrofit Award in the housing category.

The development saw off a field of 83 entries from across the country to win the award. The Retrofit Awards celebrate the design expertise behind the renewal and repurposing of existing buildings.

Cedar flatsThe refit of the flats was designed and managed by Collective Architecture with a brief to make 314 homes as energy efficient as possible. Overall the refurbishment has achieved an 80% reduction in energy demand.

Project architect Rupert Daly said:

"We took a fabric first approach to radically reduce energy demand and associated carbon emissions. The energy savings would be locked into the building’s fabric. By retrofitting rather than demolishing, the whole life carbon footprint of these buildings is likely to be closer to net zero than most new builds."

"We’re delighted that the judges saw the value of our approach. Retaining and retrofitting an existing building is always more sustainable and preferable to rebuilding one if at the same time the energy usage can be reduced through fabric improvement."

The £16 million project is the most ambitious Queens Cross has ever taken on.

All three blocks have improved low energy lighting, new insulation, modern controllable heating and hot water systems and triple glazed windows. In addition new lifts and refuse areas have been installed along with enclosed balconies and increased security systems.

"The overall impact of the refurbishment is significant for our residents and communities and we want to share our congratulations with Collective Architecture and our investment team for their work in transforming these homes.

"Our objective was to transform them in to some of our most desirable homes, to improve residents’ lives and enhance the city skyline and our investment has paid off," said Queen’s Cross’s Director of Property, Enterprise & Regeneration, Rona Anderson.

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