Boiler House


The University’s boiler house was built in 1952 following a report by eminent heating engineer George Arthur Rooley describing the poor state of the University’s heating system in October 1948. Jack Coia was commissioned to design a new central boiler room next to the West Medical Building and he was to convert the old boiler room to an animal house. The boiler house was meant to be capable of upward extension to allow for the expansion of the West Medical Building. In the meantime two staff tennis courts were built on the roof of the boiler house to replace those from the University’s Recreation Grounds that had to be moved to accommodate the extension of the Kelvin Building.

The building programme required the cooperation of various architectural firms working on different University buildings which were to be linked via underground ducts into the new heating system: T. Harold Hughes & Waugh at Chemistry (the Joseph Black Building), Basil Spence at Natural Philosophy (the Kelvin Building) and Keppie & Henderson at the Gilbert Scott Building.

Coia designed the boiler house to be discreet – it sunk into the slope above the Kelvingrove Park and utilized the existing chimney from the old boiler with a stainless steel flue inserted. The three boilers, initially coal-fired, were converted to oil in 1963 for improved cleanliness and handling.

In 1958 plans to build the new Biochemistry building (now the Davidson Building) above the boiler house were delayed. Coia’s reputation with the University had been dented by construction problems at the Garscube Veterinary Hospital resulting in Richard De’Ath of Keppie & Henderson being selected to design the new building. It took another two years for the plans to be approved and the structure was finished and occupied in September 1963 and officially opened in January 1964 by the eminent biochemist, Sir Rudolph Peters.

From late June 2014 through 2015 the University has been installing a multi-million pound district heating scheme to replace the service provided by the boiler house. The project uses the latest combined heat and power technologies to help the University reach its environmental target of a 20% reduction in carbon emissions. The project involves laying approximately five and a half kilometres of new pipework across the University campus on both sides of University Avenue.


Boiler House
G12 8QQ
Record last updated: 10th Jun 2015

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