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Glasgow Tower, The

The Glasgow Tower
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

The Glasgow Tower

Located at the Glasgow Science Centre, the Glasgow Tower is the world's first tower capable of revolving through 360° from the ground up. Standing at 127m (417 feet) in height and costing 9 million, the Glasgow Tower became the tallest freestanding building in Scotland following the demolition of the Inverkip Power Station chimney in 2013. It holds the Guinness World Record for the tallest, fully-rotating, freestanding structure in the World. The tower includes displays on the city's past as well as future development, together with a viewing platform that can give panoramic views to a distance of 40 miles (64 km) across the city and beyond. Its aerofoil shape allows the tower to be rotated into a prevailing wind, driven by four computer-controlled 6 kW electric motors. The competition-winning designed was by Richard Horden Associates and the tower was originally intended to be placed in St. Enoch's Square in the city centre. The design was executed by Buro Happold and the Glasgow-based architects BDP. The foundations extend to a depth of 20m (65 feet) and comprise 3000 tonnes of concrete, although the tower is connected to these only by an immense thrust bearing, which permits its rotation.

Opened in 2001, controversy struck almost immediately when the weight of the glass lifts was found to be beyond the design tolerance and, only months later, the tower had to be closed for repairs when it was discovered to be sinking and a base bearing had failed. Three years later, visitors were trapped in a lift when its cable snapped and the tower closed in 2010 due to further problems, only re-opening in time for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, following a 1.8 million refurbishment.

Beside the tower stands the Science Mall and Imax Cinema.


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