This evening, I am posting information on one of Glasgow’s most renowned architects, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson (1817-1875), who has left a most interesting and diverse legacy of buildings in the Glasgow conurbation.

Thomson is a candidate for the position of greatest mind in Scottish architecture. He earned the nickname ‘Greek’ because of his belief that the architecture of ancient Greece could be the the basis of truly modern architecture notwithstanding which Thomson never actually visited Greece.

Thomson did not slavishly copy Greek designs but used Greek architecture as a living language to inspire his own designs. He was flexible and willing to include new inventions of the day ( e.g. plate glass and cast-iron) in his buildings.

Thomson had a wide canvas working in the expanding city of Glasgow and his prodigious output included commercial, warehouses, tenements, terraces of houses (row houses), villas and churches.

Thomson had a spiritual streak (he was a devout Christian) and interested in philosophical ideas and images of Old Testament catastrophes which also influenced his work.

Thomson’s early work was influenced by Italian Romanesque, Scottish Baronial. and Gothic. He subsequntly converted to the superiority of the Greek ideal.

Examples of his work include:

The St Vincent St Church, Grecian Buildings, Egyptian Halls (video below), Gordon Street Warehouse (above), Eton Terrace, The Sixty Steps, Great Western Terrace, Caledonia St Church, Millbrae Crescent and Holmwood House.

I hope to put up a web page dedicated to Thomson by end 2010.

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