Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jobs saved at under-threat centre

The Lighthouse (photo from Page & Park Architects)
The Lighthouse went into administration in August

The Scottish government has stepped in to save some jobs at the troubled Lighthouse in Glasgow.

About 10 members of staff will transfer to the government agency Architecture and Design Scotland.

They will continue to run national programmes relating to architecture, Culture Minister Mike Russell said.

The Lighthouse, which was established in Glasgow in 1999 as Scotland's centre for architecture and design, went into administration in August.

The trust that ran the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Lighthouse building in Mitchell Lane was forced to cease trading after being unable to resolve severe financial problems. It had employed 57 people.

We have identified a way to ensure a national centre for architecture continues within The Lighthouse
Mike Russell

Glasgow City council, which owns the building, will take over the running of it at the end of this week.

Mr Russell said: "I am glad that through discussion with the administrators and the owners of the building - Glasgow City Council - we have identified a way to ensure a national centre for architecture continues within The Lighthouse.

"Arrangements are now being made for staff working on our programmes (ACCESS to Architecture, Senses of Place and Sust.) to transfer to Architecture and Design Scotland - programmes we remain committed to.

"With this continuity, our programmes can continue to deliver exhibitions, events and activities to the high standard achieved for so many years by The Lighthouse Trust."

The announcement is the first signal from the government that it sees a future for the centre.

Negotiations about the future of the building will continue, but it is understood a creative business centre is one of the ideas being considered.

Talks with the Heritage Lottery - which part funded the building - are also taking place since public access was one of the conditions of the grant.

Winning projects

Although the new team will be based in the Lighthouse building, it is unclear how much of their work would be staged there and the Scottish government was keen to stress that it was the people, not the building, which it would be supporting.

The Lighthouse was opened by the Queen, and was intended to be a permanent legacy of Glasgow's reign as City of Architecture and Design.

But a series of problems - including an overspend on attending the Venice Architecture Biennalle and on plans for a second Six Cities Design festival, which was then cancelled by the government - led to the Lighthouse Trust going into administration.

Mr Russell made the announcement by video link during the Saltire Society Housing Awards, which were held in the Lighthouse on Tuesday evening.

Architecture and Design Scotland chairman, Raymond Young, presented plaques to this year's two greatly contrasting winning projects, the multi-million pound Quartermile redevelopment of Edinburgh's old Royal Infirmary site by architects Foster and Partners, and the more modest Deepstone private house in rural Dumfries and Galloway by Simon Winstanley Architects.

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