SCOTLAND’S biggest city has a problem appreciating its architecture. New schemes in Glasgow often reference London’s King’s Cross and Georgian terraces, while crumbling Greek Thomson and Mackintosh buildings are abundant with references that could be utilised.

Why does Glasgow look to London rather than its own pioneering architecture for inspiration? Glasgow’s tenement architecture is like its old red blaes pitches, once ubiquitous and embedded in the psyche of the city.

Sandstone for tenements, like the red blaes, was locally hewn from the earth, one from quarries the other from collieries. To build our city in London’s image loses more than just style, it loses a sense of the Glaswegian identity.

New London Vernacular (or the King’s Cross style) is becoming ubiquitous in new Glasgow developments. It is most commonly embodied as biscuity-coloured brick with flat facades of Georgian London proportions and clean lines.

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The artist’s images advertising these new developments are usually sun-bleached too.

Using the New London Vernacular for Glasgow’s new developments is a rejection of its great architects and architectural heritage.

In the last year, three important proposed schemes have referenced this London style – Shawlands Arcade, Portcullis House and George Square. Proposals for places such as Shawlands Arcade aren’t necessarily bad architecture, they just feel like transplants from London placed awkwardly among the city’s sandstone tenements.

The proposed Portcullis House development, potentially one of Glasgow’s tallest buildings, is one of the most brazen examples. It is eerily reminiscent of architects Morris+Company’s R7 building in King’s Cross. Lip service could be paid to the fact that the millennial pink could be a reference to red sandstone, but to view both buildings side-by-side you can clearly see the inspiration came directly from London.

On the public realm side of the built environment, Glasgow’s proposed redevelopment of George Square also falls prey to the King’s Cross-ification, with buildings drawn as ghosts and the inspiration photos again images of London. This is not a criticism of the London style, or London itself, it is the placelessness that is generated by storyboards referencing what is alien to Glasgow.

Glasgow’s unwillingness to look at its immediate surroundings contributes to the maligning of the architecture of Mackintosh and Greek Thomson.

The National: There are proposals to redevelop Shawlands ArcadeThere are proposals to redevelop Shawlands Arcade

Contemporary architecture in London is turning towards the use of natural stone, such as 15 Clerkenwell Close by Groupwork architects. Stone is a good idea, as it has a low-carbon footprint. But do we have to wait until London takes the lead, while Glasgow is left with a cityscape that resembles King’s Cross of 2015?

There are good examples of Neo-Glaswegian architecture such as Collective Architecture’s Anderston redevelopment but they are not necessarily the driving trend.

WHILE not all of Greek Thomson or Mackintosh’s buildings are in disrepair, just last year Thomson’s St Vincent Street Church crumbled into disuse, and nobody needs to describe the horrible fate of the Mackintosh’s twice-burnt art school.

Perhaps Greek Thomson’s architecture fairs slightly worse, due to his lack of personal style and jaunty bow tie to sell tea towels.

The London-ificaiton of Glasgow’s important new developments makes an even stronger case to celebrate what is left and neglected with what we build as new.

If we can romanticise Mackintosh in a tea towel, we can translate him into the built environment for the modern era.

When I was working in architecture in New York, everyone knew about Mackintosh, from Texas to California. Brooklyn tenements closely resemble Glasgow’s tenements, so why does Glasgow not appreciate its own architectural heritage that has had so much reach?

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Alasdair Gray highlighted this problem with the Scottish psyche in his book Lanark. One character states: “Glasgow is a magnificent city … but if a city hasn’t been used by an artist, not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively.”

This statement equally applies to Glasgow’s adoption of London architectural styles so willingly, with a sharp turn of its back on its world-class heritage. I would rather see a planning consultation where there were photographs of red blaes pitches than shots of Neo-Georgian housing blocks in London.

One Glasgow-based architect, Matt McCallum,also told me: “It’s not to say investment is not welcome and that New London Vernacular doesn’t generate well-designed buildings but the financial influences, committed planners and detailed design guides that shaped New London Vernacular have not been present in Scotland.

“If I showed someone a picture of a red sandstone tenement they would recognise it as Glasgow. If I showed someone a picture of a blond brick warehouse converted into flats, they would probably suspect it was Shoreditch. Glasgow’s local style and vernacular is very easy to see and it’s a shame to not see the same care and attention to designing locally as has been seen in Londonfor the last decade.”