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VOTE: What’s the ugliest building on the Glasgow University campus?

All the places that didn’t make it onto the promotional campus tour video, and for good reason


The University of Glasgow is lucky to be able to bless its students with a predominantly beautiful campus. However, there are still places on the campus that really put the “Y?!” in Yikes.

Here is a culmination of six of the ugliest spots on campus. Read on to the end to place your vote for your winner of the ugliest building.

Thomson Building

The Thomson building is situated next to the Gilbert Scott building facing University Avenue.

Tucked in the left hand corner, the squat and stained anatomy building sits like an ugly pimple on the face of the main building that unfortunately no amount of hoping or prayer can remove. Luckily, it is well hidden from the eyes of the average by passer as a result of the constant construction occurring next to it.

Its miserable exterior makes climbing up University Avenue to attend a lecture there an arduous task, that leaves little inspiration to learn inside its walls. In colder months, the path towards its entrance becomes an icy death trap which begs the question of whether it’s unfortunate exterior merely foreshadows and reflects the experience of its students in the winter time. The little hope that the inside of the building might be better is vanquished by the reality of a lecture hall so tiny that the students sit inside it stacked together like sardines in a tin.

It would be preferable to sit outside in wintery Scottish temperatures than endure a sweltering hour or so in the hideous box that is the Thomson Building.

Queen Margaret Union

The Queen Margaret Union, otherwise known as QMU, is a hub for student life. Unfortunately for this building, its position next to University Gardens and the James McCune Smith Learning Hub makes it a bit of an ugly duckling in comparison to its neighbours.

The QMU hosts a myriad of events, services and facilities and therefore garners quite a buzz. This being said, one buzz its not garnering is one for architectural beauty. The QMU does hold a lot of street cred in the music scene having hosted big names such as The Smiths, Nirvana and Queen. It’s up for debate as to whether these same names kept their gaze to that of a squint upon arriving at their concert destination, so as to not let the bleak looking building kill their vibe before going on stage. If the exterior hasn’t made you too nauseous, then a visit inside to get something to eat is a must. The popular Chinese restaurant Soundbite can be found on the second floor and the hype it holds is well deserved as both the vibes and food are amazing.

The QMU hosts a myriad of events, services and facilities and therefore garners quite a buzz. This being said, one buzz its not garnering is one for architectural beauty. The QMU does hold a lot of street cred in the music scene having hosted big names such as The Smiths, Nirvana and Queen. It’s up for debate as to whether these same names kept their gaze to that of a squint upon arriving at their concert destination, so as to not let the bleak looking building kill their vibe before going on stage. If the exterior hasn’t made you too nauseous, then a visit inside to get something to eat is a must. The popular Chinese restaurant Soundbite can be found on the second floor and the hype it holds is well deserved as both the vibes and food are amazing.

The Adam Smith building’s tall, grotesque frame casts a ghastly shadow on all below it. The building which is divided into staff rooms and teaching rooms is undoubtedly one of the ugliest spots on campus.

Its stained grey blocks and dirty spackled stone are just further disfigured by the momentous amount of scaffolding that covers so much of the building, adding to the general dreary aura it emits. A mighty eleven levels makes the journey around the building an exhausting, dizzying endeavour especially since using the elevator isn’t even a consideration half the time due to its unappealing aroma and cramped space.

The lecture halls inside however, are a stark contrast to the buildings exterior, containing large floor to ceiling windows that span entire walls and make gazing out across the view of the west end an enjoyable pass-time in class.

For those unfortunate enough to have a class here, persevere with the promise of a good hour or two of a much nicer view than the one you were greeted with upon your arrival.

Molema Building

The Molema Building is the home of Geology and Archaeology at the University of Glasgow.

Considering both of these things, whoever designed this building must have had a personal vendetta against both subjects because this oddly shaped building is one grimy, brown eye sore. The building might have gained a better name and association when it was renamed from the Gregory Building to the Molema Building, but its repugnant exterior remains the same.

The vulvic statue outside its main entrance does very little to improve the overall unappealing resonance of the place. The only redeeming feature of the Molema Building is its proximity to Ashton Lane and Byers Road, meaning you can avoid the uphill climb that is University Avenue when attending class there. The small ramp up to its entrance becomes an icy, impenetrable obstacle in the winter term that implies that even mother nature deems the building too unsightly to enter.

Davidson Building

The Davidson Building can be found on Dumbarton Way as part of the Davidson, Wolfson, and Sir James Black complex.

Kept out of sight in the south-west corner of the campus, this architectural blemish has a collection of broken, algae covered bricks and stone by its staircase entry. The building is home to the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology divisions, so maybe it was an active decision to let an ecosystem begin to form on its discarded stone. The flimsy, paint-peeling hand rail has questionable structural integrity and the flickering light in the entryway, that unfortunately a picture could not capture, begs the question of whether you’re looking at entering part of the university campus, or the backrooms?

The only redeeming feature of this building is the Courtyard of Links which connects the three parts of the complex together and is a rather pleasant space that helps you forget the row of stained fridges you might have passed in the corridor to get there.

Boyd Orr Building

The Boyd Orr building is the University of Glasgow’s very own The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the only difference is the queue to ride the elevator in this one is actually longer.

Disneyland at least took the initiative to demolish its own Tower of Terror, we can only pray that one day the Boyd Orr will face the same fate. Its dark, gloomy exterior embodies the disappointing reality many UofG students face upon realising that their whole timetable is the Boyd Orr and the dream of studying in a university building with a likeness to Hogwarts, that so many imagine upon their arrival, is crushed.

Located next to the James McCune Smith Learning Hub, the Boyd Orr can be entered externally and internally from within the learning hub. If you are unfortunate enough to be subjected to a class there, one can only hope that the journey through its unnecessary amount of floors is a swift one to aid your hasty escape.