Sir John James Burnet (Burnet, Son and Dick), 1923-27; later additions to W. 2-storey and basement, neo-Baroque university department and museum building. Asymmetrical U-plan with single storey infill and later range to W. Polished ashlar, all channelled. Plinth with keyblocked basement window architraves. Ground floor level band course. Continuous parapet breaking through. Louvred cupola over entrance range.
E ELEVATION: central entrance bay breaking forward with recessed architrave, panel over "ZOOLOGY 1923", stairlight above breaking through open segmental pediment. Plain walls to right and left of entrance.
N ELEVATION: 12 bays separated by pilaster strips; casement windows with glazing bars.
S ELEVATION: continuous plain wall running into W lateral section with keyblocked, blind window, axial stacks, slate roof.
Steel-framed casement and hopper windows. Grey slate piended roof to N and E ranges; replacement Mansard roof over Museum wing and later W range. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: (seen 2010). ENTRANCE HALL: glazed timber vestibule doors with brass fixings; later inner vestibule screen; granolithic floor with contrasting margins; plain cornice and compartmental ceiling. MAIN STAIR: broad scale and platt stair; iron balusters with timber handrail and carved beast heads, decorative newel finials. UPPER STAIR HALL: granolithic floor; coved ceiling. MAIN LECTURE THEATRE: tiered, curved seating (replacement); timber paneled walls; timber balustrade to rear of seating; original window blind mechanism in place. ZOOLOGY MUSEUM: large rectangular-plan room in the form of a temple; timber floor; colonnaded walls; compartmental ceiling. LABORATORY: large N-facing windows.
Statement of Special Interest
The Graham Kerr Building forms an A-Group with the Joseph Black Buildings (see separate listing). The Graham Kerr Building is an outstanding example of a largely unaltered work by the notable Glasgow architect, Sir John James Burnet. The building marks a transition between the Baroque characteristics of his earlier buildings and the early modern direction of his practice at this period, and has a design which is characterised by this evolution in style, including the deeply channelled ashlar facings.
The different functions of parts of the building are expressed externally through massing and detailing, including the stepped windows (S elevation) to the raked Main Lecture Theatre. Norman Dick (architect with Burnet's practice) was largely responsible for the details of the design. Key surviving features of the original building include the microscopy laboratories with their large metal-framed windows for 'good northern light', the Museum, Main Lecture Theatre and Main Staircase. Originally the Museum was top-lit by diffuse light from a cupola above - the roof was later altered.
John James Burnet was one of Scotland's leading architects in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Son of another architect, John Burnet Senior, he trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Burnet was a pioneer of the stylistic move from historicist styles to a tradition-based, but free-style architecture. He developed enormously successful and influential practices in Glasgow and London, designing a number of eminent buildings including the Fine Art Institute, Athenaeum Theatre, Charing Cross Mansions, Atlantic Chambers and Clyde Navigation Trust Offices in Glasgow and the Kodak Building, the second and third phases of Selfridges, Adelaide House, and the King Edward VII Wing at the British Museum in London. Burnet was knighted for the latter project in 1914. Commissions for the University of Glasgow included: John McIntyre Building (1886), Bower Building (1900), Anatomical (Thomson) Building (1900-01), James Watt Engineering North Building (1901 and 1908), University Chapel (1923-29) and Hunter Memorial (1925). The neighbouring Glasgow Western Infirmary also employed Burnet Sr and John James Burnet for a number of projects.
The building is named after Sir John Graham Kerr (1869-1957), a Cambridge evolutionary embryologist, who was appointed to the Regius Chair of Natural History (Zoology) in 1902. He was especially interested in marine biology and Scottish natural history.
Formerly listed as '1L Gilmorehill, University Of Glasgow, Zoology Building'.
List description updated as part of review of the University of Glasgow Hillhead Campus, 2011. The building number is derived from the University of Glasgow Main Campus Map (2007), as published on the University's website www.gla.ac.uk.
Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan: Glasgow, 1933-34; Glasgow University Archives, Drawings Collection Ref. GB 0248 GUA BUL/6/16/1-127; Architects Journal (21/09/1927); Builder (30/10/1925); D Walker 'Scotland at the Turn of the Century' in Edwardian Architecture & its Origins (A Service, ed.), (1975) p. 211; C McKean, D Walker, F Walker, Central Glasgow: Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Illustrated Architectural Guide, (1989) p. 185; E Williamson, A Riches, M Higgs, The Buildings of Scotland: Glasgow, (1990) p. 342; M Hansell, H Harris, M Reilly & G D Ruxton, Architectural Treasures of the University of Glasgow, (2009) pp.34-35; 'Glasgow University Zoology' search at www.scottisharchitects.org.uk (accessed 03-03-2010).
We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/shep-dec2011.pdf, Annex 2, pp74-76.
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