O’DonnellBrown gets planning consent for retrofit of historic pipe factory

The retrofit will see essential building repairs carried out, with local practice Loader Monteith working as conservation architect on the project.

O’DonnellBrown was selected this summer to transform the Category B-listed structure ahead of shortlisted firms including Simpson & Brown Architects, Hoskins Architects and Collective Architecture following a competition last year.

Loader Monteith director Matt Loader said: ‘The charm and heritage value of The Pipe Factory is truly felt in its finely detailed exterior. The composition of the brickwork must have taken great skill and care and good conservation and restoration of the building’s skin will revive and contribute greatly to its civic presence.’

Project data

A new primary staircase will be inserted inside the building as well as a new external lift shaft, becoming the one noticeable addition to the outside of the former clay pipe factory, built in 1876-1879 to designs by Scottish architect Matthew Forsyth.

‘This project embodies all that is good about how retrofit schemes can and should be taken forward where possible. This is an opportunity to deliver an exemplar scheme, providing a template for future retrofit projects.’

Externally, repair and repointing of the existing red and white Italian Renaissance-inspired brickwork will be carried out.

It will also house room for young artists, architects and designers, as well as flexible space for small businesses.

Original brickwork will feature on the ground floor, with cast iron columns and timber beams left exposed as part of a celebration of the structure’s history.

Wider improvements to thermal performance through insulation, window and heating upgrades will be introduced and accessibility improved.

Glasgow City Council gave its planning consent to the the AJ 40 under 40 practice’s proposals for the 1870s building near Barrras Market, in Glasgow’s east end, earlier this month (7 December).

The Friends of the Pipe Factory, who have owned the building since 2021, have been given £1.9 million from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, as well as lottery funding.

Once completed, the building’s owners – Friends of the Pipe Factory, a community interest company – will invite local young people from different backgrounds to use the space for early careers support.

He continued: ‘Our practice is embedded in this community: we worked on a retrofit of Us V Them, a neighbourhood café-cum-workshop space that has become a magnet for local creatives, and we are passionate about sustaining The Pipe Factory as a space for creative practice.

Address 42 Bain Street, Glasgow
Site area 225m²
Gross internal area 815m²
Value £3.3 million
Client Friends of The Pipe Factory
Architect O’DonnellBrown
Conservation architect Loader Monteith
Principal designer Brown & Wallace
Project manager Cragg Management
Accessibility consultant Design for Everyone
Senior energy and sustainability engineer Lindsay Adams, Harley Haddow
M&E engineer Harley Haddow
Services engineer Harley Haddow
Structural engineer Narro
Quantity surveyor Armour
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown
Fire engineer Jensen Hughes



منبع The Italian Renaissance-inspired building stopped operating as a factory in 1955 and fell into disrepair. Since 2015, it has been used for exhibitions and events and as artists’ studios. Repair work to the windows and roof took place in 2016.

O’DonnellBrown director Sam Brown said the project was ‘pivotal’ for the regeneration of The Barras area of Glasgow.

The Clay Pipe Factory was completed in 1879. It was one of only three finished buildings he designed before Forsyth died of tuberculosis, aged 29, according to the Dictionary of Scottish Architects. At its peak, the factory produced 13,000 clay pipes a day and employed 500 people.