The south bank of the Clyde at Pacific Quay, previously the site of the Prince’s Dock cargo port, is now home to several gleaming, modern structures of steel and glass. Glasgow Science Centre was the first such building to be erected that side of the river, having opened in June 2001, and now shares its location with the likes of the Scottish headquarters of the BBC and STV. It remains the most visually striking of them all, though, with its titanium-clad crescent shape, fully windowed north-facing façade and (problem-plagued) 105-metre tower.
The centre comprises three separate facilities; the main Science Mall spans three floors and hosts more than 250 science-learning exhibits, each with a strong focus on interaction, play and informal education. Inside, you’ll find everything from plasma balls to chaos pendulums, whispering dishes and even a massive planetarium with more than 9,000 twinkling stars. The oval-shaped, 370-seater IMAX cinema was the first of its kind in Scotland, and now shows a mixture of educational and general interest films in 2D, 3D and IMAX formats.
As for the tower, its history is a chequered one. Initially beset with technical issues in the elevator system (the lifts were prone to stopping mid-journey), it had been functional for only 80 percent of its lifetime when it underwent a four-year, £2 million overhaul – reopening just in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Now you can take a trip to the top with confidence, and it’s highly recommended for the spectacular 360-degree views, which can take in a 20-mile radius of Glasgow on a clear day. As Scotland’s tallest freestanding structure, and the only structure on Earth capable of rotating 360 degrees into the prevailing wind, it’s a scientific wonder in itself.