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MEET THE PIECES
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Looking proudly over the entire city from its West End base, the spire of the main University building stands at an impressive 278 feet tall. Built in 1981 as part of the new University campus, it was designed in the Gothic revival style by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Its Hogwarts style appearance has gained it a new visiting audience in recent years.
The Tolbooth Steeple reminds Glaswegians of a dark time in their city's past. Built in 1626, the tower was the site for many of the public hangings which took place at that time - including those of witches, thieves and murderers. Today the Tower stands where five of the city's main streets cross, with High Street to the North leading to Glasgow Cathedral; Gallowgate and London Road to the East; Saltmarket to the South leading to the river Clyde; and Trongate leading West through the city centre.
Standing watch over the river Clyde at an impressive 175 feet, the Finnieston Crane is a proud reminder of how Glasgow's industrial and shipbuilding past was respected worldwide. Decommissioned in 1988, the crane is one of only 11 giant cantilever cranes left across the world. Capable of performing a full rotation in three and a half minutes, the crane carried heavy machinery such as tanks and cranes onto ships to be exported abroad.
In 2011, Glasgow was proud to unveil its new Museum of Transport, designed by internationally renowned architect, Zaha Hadid. Situated at Pointhouse Quay on the Clyde, it has become a key focal point in the regeneration of the riverside in Glasgow and is now one of the most visited museums in the UK. The building pays homage to the city's famous shipbuilding past by being built on a former shipbuilding site, whilst the design itself 'flows' from the river onto land, referencing the city's dynamic relationship with shipbuilding, voyaging and industry. As with all museums in Glasgow, entrance is free!
Back in the city centre, we find something that reflects the humour of the city which gave the world comic genius Billy Connolly. Standing outside the Gallery of Modern Art on Royal Exchange Square stands a sculpture of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, created in 1844 by Italian sculptor, Carlo Marochetti. So far so predictable...since the 1980s however, it is rare to see this sculpture without the addition of a traffic cone on the head of the Duke in a tradition which has come to be accepted – even loved - by authorities as well as Glaswegians across the city.
The transformation of Glasgow Clyde's riverside and the city's cultural re-invention was signalled in 1997 with the construction of the SEC Armadillo/Clyde Auditorium. Again bringing Glasgow's shipbuilding past into its present, the shape of the building was achieved by having large sheets of flat sheet metal 'draped' over a frame which references ships' hulls turned upside down - thus also resembling the shell of an armadillo. Awarded a UNESCO City of Music designation in 2008, Glasgow is now recognised as a world centre for the production and presentation of music across genre. The 3000 seater Armadillo regularly brings international music talent to Scotland, alongside large scale conferences and other cultural events.
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