Among the rapidly multiplying modern skyscrapers with shimmering glass frontages in Glasgow city centre sits a tall, narrow, and striking building.

Sandwiched between a charcoal grey office block and an ornate red sandstone building, St Vincent Chambers is one of the city structures that only seems more beautiful the more you stand and look at it, discovering its intricate detail that many of us might walk past every day, on the daily commute and barely looking up.

Of course, as with many people and places in our city, it’s not known by its actual name. This incredible building is more commonly known as the Hatrack building, for no other reason than it could somewhat resemble a tall hat stand.

Glasgow Times:

Above delicately designed stained glass windows at the first-floor level, three-pane windows ascend in columns, leading up to one of the most unique roofs in the city’s skyline.

Completing this stunning structure is an intricate pagoda-like model which sits on the roof, its points splayed out to resemble the hooks of a hat stand.

The Hatrack building originates back to the late 1890s when it was designed by James Salmon, a Glasgow School of Art student who had begun to take a strong interest in sculpture. He and his friend, renowned city architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, were pioneers of the Art Nouveau style.

Glasgow Times:

It is a prime example of an ‘elevator’ building, a long and narrow style with eight storeys and almost forty windows crammed into a thirty-foot-wide space.

Once you recognise the particular style of Art Nouveau buildings, it is easy to spot some of Salmon’s other designs dotted around the city. The Mercantile Chambers on Bothwell Street, the sadly abandoned Anderston Savings Bank on Argyle Street and Lion Chambers on Hope Street, and the British Linen Bank in the Gorbals.

Like the Hatrack and Lion Chambers, many of Salmon’s designs feature the same brown sandstone brick, towering height, narrow width, intricate cast-iron carvings, and stained glass windows.

Glasgow Times:

Further afield, Salmon’s ‘Glasgow Style’ Art Nouveau designs have reached the village of Kilmacolm with Hazelhope, Northernhay and Nether Knockbuckle credited to him.

Now sadly abandoned, the Lion Chambers is often regarded as one of Glasgow’s oldest skyscrapers to still exist in its original condition. For many years it housed the city’s lawyers and artists until the building was cleared in the mid-1990s over fears it was too dangerous to use.

Since then, it has remained empty but is a category A-listed building meaning it is protected from demolition.