FOR many people Brutalist architecture is hard to love. Typically, brutalist buildings are unadorned, boxy and concrete based. No charming decoration, intricate stonework or witty references to buildings of the past for them. Instead, raw building materials and structural elements are to the fore. These buildings revel in a kind of uncompromising attitude; they are what they are, and you can take it or leave it. Most people do the latter.

Having said that, Brutalism has undergone something of a re-assessment lately. What was seen as ugly and worthless for many years is now starting to be seen as beautiful. Architectural historians and more enlightened city councils are realising they have culturally important buildings on their hands.

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Perhaps understandably, Glasgow, with its wet and cold climate, has been lagging behind. For most Glaswegians these buildings evoke too many memories of damp and draughty high rises and windswept concrete pathways. Glasgow’s legacy of badly designed and badly built social housing is hard to shrug off. Sadly, for most of Glasgow’s citizens Brutalism is exactly the kind of architecture that needs to be demolished, not celebrated.

So, over the past few years the city fathers have been quietly taking their revenge. Most of the great monuments of Glasgow Brutalism have fallen in the continuing culture wars. With no great public outcry or campaigns to save them, the demolitions have passed without incident.

The Bluevale and Whitevale towers, once the tallest buildings in Scotland, massive formal rectangles outlined against a Duke Street sky, are no more. Typographical House, a proud, compact building of poured concrete and glass by the Clyde? Gone this year. The Anderson Centre, a dream of a bus station, offices and a supermarket combined in a kind of Deathstar of concrete, was one of the first to go, renounced as a planner’s folly not long after it was built. No real traces of it remain. And if Glasgow has it’s way, more like them will follow.

Some of the great constructions like the Boyd Orr Building at the University of Glasgow have had a stranger fate. What was once an uncompromising concrete tower of strength and power has now had a “makeover”. Clothed now in shiny glass and cladding, it has been integrated into the university’s new look. No longer a building that demands attention, it’s now just part of an innocuous and unremarkable row of university Buildings. Dignity robbed and context lost, it’s a sad shell of itself. Maybe this one time, demolition would have been a kinder destiny.

It’s often said that buildings are most at risk when they are between 40 and 60 years old. No longer the shiny new kid on the block and not old enough to have some sentimental value, they fall between the two – easier to knock down than to renovate. But if buildings can survive this dangerous age and they have architectural merit, no matter how unfashionable, they eventually become recognised as buildings that are worth saving. Glasgow woke up just in time to try to preserve what was left of

Gillespie, Kidd and Coia’s post-war ecclesiastical portfolio before it was too late. Maybe if some of the following buildings can survive for a few more years they might make it too. I can but hope.

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The staircase in The Hunterian 

The Hunterian Art Gallery in the west end sits opposite Giles Gilbert Scott’s gothic fantasy of the University of Glasgow. The building seems half sunk into the hill it stands on, a low collection of concrete boxes and a modest circular tower. The recreation of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House is half-submerged in the concrete of the largest section, an interesting metaphor for the unrelenting forward march of architectural progress perhaps.

In its only note of whimsy, it sits on a “moat” of cobbles, harking back to Scottish keeps, which were fortified building to protect the precious art inside. The interior is clean and cool with an amazing asymmetric spiral staircase enclosed in the torpedo-like tower.

Just around the corner is Queen Margaret Union. Built in 1968, it sits in an awkward space at the end of University Avenue. It’s a powerful, squat building of jutting planes and multiple levels.

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The real jewel of the building, however, is almost never seen. Around the back, unkept and unloved, is a fantastic external staircase (above). It’s an exhilarating zig-zag of concrete platforms and steps.

You get the feeling that if it was at the front of the building, it would feature in every new student’s Instagram account.

If anything, the Savoy Centre on Sauchiehall Street is even more unloved than the QM staircase. Best seen from Renfrew Street, it’s a shopping centre profoundly out of step with the times. Now home to numerous kiosks, phone and bargain shops, it deserves better.

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Almost entirely covered in textured concrete cladding, it features an amazing 1970s low-relief sign that on any other building would be venerated. An elevated walkway, now shut, stretches across the traffic on Renfrew Street below, allowing the building to be entered directly on to the first floor. Wasn’t this kind of thing what the future was meant to be like? The building is crying out for some kind of renovation and repurposing. It deserves it.

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At 72 Charlotte Street, overlooking Glasgow Green, stands Jack Coia’s 1963 extension to the Lady And Saint Francis Secondary School. Although the context of the building has been lost due to surrounding demolition, it’s still a striking construction. Fortunately, this building is A-listed, so it’s here to stay.

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Cantilevered classrooms jut out from the facade highlighting the horizontal emphasis on the building’s construction. Some could argue that Gillespie, Kidd and Coia’s touch has rendered the building more decorative than a true Brutalist building would be, but I think that’s splitting hairs. It is a beautiful building and a Brutalist one.

Glasgow has a habit of quietly letting important buildings become so neglected and run down it’s then easy to claim they are now “beyond saving” and so should be demolished. Let’s hope the new affection for Brutalism means this won’t happen to some of Glasgow’s best buildings.

Alan Parks is the author of the acclaimed Harry McCoy novels, set in 1970s Glasgow. May God Forgive will be published by Canongate, £14.99, on April 28.