BBC Alba at the Pacific Quay
The Pacific Quay area, formerly the site of the Prince’s Docks, on the south bank of the River Clyde, is home to the Digital Media Quarter and the Glasgow Science Centre. The headquarters of BBC Scotland (or BBC Alba in Gaelic), colourfully lit up at night in the above photo, opened in the summer of 2007. The headquarters of BBC Scotland’s main rival, STV, had opened next door a year before the BBC moved in. If you’ve ever watched BBC Scotland, you might recognize Tuesday’s photo as the occasional backdrop for local news.
The Glasgow Science Centre, just next door, is composed of three main buildings: the Science Mall, an IMAX cinema, and the Glasgow Tower. Opened to the public in June 2001 at a cost of £75 million, including £10 million for Glasgow Tower. The crescent-shaped Science Mall houses some 250 interactive science-learning exhibits, a Science Show Theatre and the Glasgow Science Centre Planetarium.
The IMAX cinema is the first and currently only IMAX cinema to have been built in Scotland and screens 3D films as well as standard 2D films in IMAX format. I’ve always thought that the IMAX cinema looked more like an armadillo than the Clyde Auditorium across the river. If you look carefully at the photo above you can kinda make out the distinctive round shape of the IMAX cinema on the right.
The Glasgow Tower is the tallest tower in Scotland at 127 meters (417ft), and holds a Guinness World Record for being the tallest tower in the world in which the whole structure is capable of rotating 360 degrees. Shaped like an aerofoil, the tower is turned by computers into the wind in order to reduce wind resistance. Yes, it’s an aerodynamic building.
Glasgow Trivia #13: Continuing from Tuesday’s Glasgow Trivia, here are a few more Clyde-built ships you might recognize:
PS Waverley. Built in 1946, the PS Waverley is the last seagoing paddle steamer in the world and has been since 1972. She can still be seen in operation on the Clyde.
RMS Queen Mary. Built in 1934, the Queen Mary dominated the North Atlantic routes as the largest and fastest passenger ship around, from 1936 until jet flight brought about its demise. During WW2 she and her sister ship, RMS Queen Elizabeth (built in 1938), were the fastest troop ships in the war, simply too fast for the German submarines to catch. She was retired in 1967 and today she is a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California. The Queen Elizabeth was destroyed by fire in 1972 off a harbour in Hong Kong while being converted to a floating university.
RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. The most famous of the Clyde-built ships and often referred to simply as the ‘QE2’, she was built in 1968 and ran transatlantic routes between Southampton and New York, as well as world cruises during active life of almost 40 years. In 1982 she served as a troopship in the Falklands War. She was retired from service by Cunard in 2008, and is currently sitting in dock in Dubai, waiting to be converted into a floating luxury hotel.
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