Sunday, 9 April 2017

Alexander "Greek" Thomson

When I was on a contract in Glasgow, I passed a prime example of the work of this great architect, who was born 200 years ago today. Depressingly, it had fallen into a state of decay. One trusts that it has been rescued in time for the bicentennial celebrations.

It is interesting to see from wikipedia that Thomson was a pioneer in sustainable building. There is much more to be discovered at the Alexander Thomson Society website.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

Since posting the short piece on Thomson, I read "Nooks and Corners" in the current Private Eye magazine. It appears that my expectation that the authorities would respond to today's bicentenary with a rescue of Thomson's key works was ill-founded. "Piloti" writes:

In fact, Glasgow city council and Historic Scotland are doing worse than nothing as they are both content to respond to the continuing decay and neglect of Thomson's finest and most extraordinary commercial building, Egyptian Halls (now reaching crisis point) [...] with complacent inactivity.

"Piloti's" piece goes on for a further 800 words or so, obviously too long for reproduction in this comment. However, a key point is that there is a developer who has enlisted expert architects and engineers to devise a conversion scheme for the Egyptian Halls which is in sympathy with Thomson's original vision. It seems that the authorities are placing obstacles in his way.

I recall that Charles Rennie Mackintosh, now so celebrated, was similarly neglected until modern times. I am sure that eventually Thomson will be similarly recognised. The danger is that recognition will come to late to save his best work.