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The Independent Culture
Glaswegian decay

Two Grade A buildings in Glasgow are under threat of demolition because the owners refuse to carry out essential repairs. Lion Chambers in Hope Street, designed in 1904, is one of only two reinforced concrete buildings in the city built using the Hennebique method of construction, a pioneering form of concrete framing. The owners say the building is suffering from irreversible "concrete cancer" and refuse to pay a £1.5m repair bill, despite being served a dangerous buildings notice by the council. Last week they put in an application for the building's demolition. A second building, a warehouse on the corner of Bell and Watson streets, influenced by the great Glaswegian architect Alexander "Greek" Thomson, also faces demolition. Local conservationists are concerned that Glasgow is destroying its industrial heritage even before it has become City of Architecture and Design in 1999.

Domestic talent "First Sight" is an exhibition of more than 60 projects by mostly young British architects whose work is not widely known. The Royal Institute of British Architects called for submissions; a hanging committee selected two-thirds of the 100 submissions for display. Most show new houses, conversions and extensions, making the exhibition a showcase of contemporary domestic design talent. Florence Gallery, Riba, 66 Portland Place, London W1, until 29 April.

Modern ramparts

The city of Chester, ringed by Roman and medieval ramparts, wants a new wall to mark the millennium. The architects MacCormac Jamieson Prichard are planning the 2.5km wall, which will run north of the existing wall and would involve burying the city's inner ring road in a tunnel. Millennium Commission funding is being sought for 50 per cent of the cost.

Big Bilbao ideas Bilbao, on the north coast of Spain, is claiming a place on the architectural tourist map with a series of major projects to be completed before the end of the century. The Basque city has mounted an exhibition in the Royal Festival Hall, London, featuring work by Sir Norman Foster, whose metro system for Bilbao is under construction; Michael Wilford & Partners (finalising designs for a major transport exchange); Frank Gehry, whose new Guggenheim Museum is well under way; and Santiago Calatrava,who is designing a new airport and bridge. The exhibition runs until 29 May.

Deathwatch watch A £400,000 EU-funded programme to eradicate the deathwatch beetle, using an ecologically friendly alternative to poisonous sprays, is being put at risk because scientists cannot capture enough live beetles and their larvae. The larvae of the adult beetle, which appear only in late April, May and early June, are one of the most damaging timber pests and are particularly prevalent in medieval cathedrals. Dr Brian Ridout, who is leading the team of British and Irish scientists, says: "We need deathwatch beetle larvae to conduct tests. But, of course, as soon as you want them, you can't find the blasted things." Anyone with information on deathwatch beetles is asked to call a 24-hour Beetle Hotline on 01562 882571.

Brought to book English Heritage has slapped an urgent repairs notice on a listed library in east London after years of neglect by its owner, Hackney council. Haggerston Library, a prominent Grade II listed landmark on the A10 arterial road, opened in 1893 but has been empty since 1975. It is now semi-derelict and riddled with dry rot. Various schemes have been proposed for the old library, including use as a night-club or "foyer" housing development for homeless young people. If the repair works are not carried out, English Heritage has the right to do the work itself and send Hackney council the bill.

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