THE CA' D'ORO BUILDING
WHERE IS IT? In the city centre, on the corner of Gordon Street and Union Street, across the road from Central Station
Originally known as the F & J Smith Furniture Warehouse, the Ca’ D’Oro building was designed by Glasgow architect John Honeyman and completed in 1872, with the lower level as a shop front, while the upper levels were often used for weddings and functions.
It is believed Honeyman based his design on the 15th Century Ca’ d’Oro building in Venice, sometimes known as the Golden House. He used triple-arched cast iron frames, which were cast at the Saracen Iron Foundry in Glasgow. The building’s best feature is its large bay windows, in the Venetian style of an open-ended figure-of-eight. The roof features a glazed atrium, allowing light to flow into the centre of the building.
The Ca’ D’Oro nickname was reinforced in 1927 when the Ca D’Oro restaurant, designed by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, was opened by building an additional concrete floor on top of the original structure, an ugly extension which did nothing to complement the original design. It was converted to a ballroom in the 1950s. However, in 1987 a fire broke out, destroying this upper level, although Honeyman’s original cast iron frame survived. After a major refurbishment, the building was reopened in 1990.
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