The Armadillo

The Clyde Auditorium is a building I’ve been meaning to photograph for some time, but I’ve never managed to find somewhere on the opposite side of the river where I could park safely and take photographs. Until last night. The Clyde Auditorium, familiarly known as “The Armadillo”, is a concert venue in Glasgow, Scotland. The building sits on the site of the now in-filled Queen’s Dock on the River Clyde, adjacent to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The Armadillo

Plans for a new building to increase the capacity of the SECC complex were initiated in 1995. Designed by award-winning architects Foster and Partners, the 3,000 seat venue was completed in 1997, by which time it had earned its affectionate nickname due to the similarity of its shape to that of the animal of the same name. Many comparisons have been made with the Sydney Opera House, although this was not the architects’ inspiration for the design, which was in fact an interlocking series of ship’s hulls, in reference to the Clyde’s shipbuilding heritage.

The building has quickly become one of the most recognisable on Clydeside and one of the images most associated with modern Glasgow. It is connected to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and the Crowne Plaza for easy access and exit for high-profile performers.

The facade of the Clyde Auditorium was a venue featured in a promotional video for the animated sitcom The Simpsons, which parodies the famous Susan Boyle audition for Britain’s Got Talentin January 2009.

Last night was pretty cold but I was determined to make the most of my photo opportunity. I spent about two and a half hours along the riverside photographing this building, the science centre, the television studios and the bridges that are within easy walking distance. Up until about 8:30 (20:30) there was plenty of foot traffic and it’s well lit so I felt reasonably safe, although it’s always wise to keep one eye on your subject and the other on your surroundings.


6 thoughts on “The Armadillo

  1. The colors in this photos standout and make this a remarkable photograph. The reflection in the water is the best that I have seen in a long time. You made the comment about having to be watchful of what is around. I am the same way here in Texas. Never get out of my truck out in the country or at the lake. And I will not photograph at night. Wish that I could.


    1. Luckily it was early enough in the evening and there were plenty of people about. I even met a young lady who was out walking with a very expensive Canon camera and lens. It’s always a good thing to be aware of what’s going on around you. I’ve been nearly caught out on the beach with the tide coming in behind me. Didn’t notice I was standing on a sand-bar an the dip behind me was filling with water. Wet feet that dat but nothing serious.


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