The Ramshorn (Confucius Institute)

Published 21st June 2023

The Ramshorn at the University of Glasgow is a partnership with Nankai University supported by the Centre for Language Education & Cooperation and builds on long-standing research collaborations between the two universities. The institute’s activities centre on the provision of Chinese language classes, promoting understanding of China and its culture through a range of lectures and other events, and providing training and other support for businesses and schools.

Our team were appointed by the University of Strathclyde for the conservation and refurbishment of The Ramshorn building at the University of Strathclyde, a 200-year-old Grad A historical listed building in the Merchant City area of Glasgow. The refurbishment was to accommodate the publicly accessible hub for Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT), as well as host the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS).

The new premises has the capacity to host courses, performances, lectures conferences and exhibitions and will serve as a Chinese cultural centre that will reach out beyond the university campus to the heart of Scottish communities. A 128-seat lecture hall and foyer break out support spaces were incorporated into the design including a flexible meeting space, quiet spaces and a library. Additionally, offices for CISS and SCILT comprising open and closed office settings and storage for both organisations were accommodated.

Our team carried out a series of structural inspections to understand the existing structural form of the building, assess the function of various walls/downtaking works, and inform the design by providing the most economical and practical design solution. Following a review of the existing structure, we advised on necessary repairs for both the refurbishment itself and for future maintenance of the building. Following this, we evaluated the project proposals and carried out surveys and investigations where we recommended as to either develop or de-risk the overall project.

The project successfully saw the transformation of a disused historic building into a vibrant modern office environment and multi-space, with works carried out to ensure longevity of the building for years to come.