The Clyde Auditorium, familiarly known as "The Armadillo", is a concert venue and auditorium in Glasgow, Scotland. The building sits on the site of the now infilled Queen's Dock on the River Clyde, adjacent to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. Plans for a new building to increase the capacity of the SECC complex were initiated in 1995. Designed by award-winning architects Foster and Partners, the 1,100 seat venue was completed in 1997, by which time it had earned its affectionate nickname due to the similarity of its shape to that of the animal of the same name.
Many comparisons have been made with the Sydney Opera House, although this was not the architects' inspiration for the design, which was in fact an interlocking series of ship's hulls, in reference to the Clyde's shipbuilding heritage. The building has quickly become one of the most recognisable on Clydeside and one of the iconic images of modern Glasgow. Its success has led to the construction of a third venue on the complex, the Scottish Hydro Arena.
It is connected by passageways to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, and the Crowne Plaza hotel for easy access and exit for high-profile performers. The building held the Scottish auditions of Britain's Got Talent series 2 - 4 and the auditions for series 1 - 4 of The X Factor. It is the place where Susan Boyle was discovered. The building served as the venue for the weightlifting competitions of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow. The Main Building was completed and opened in 1985, with a concert by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Hall 1.
It later held the Grand International Show in Hall 4 as part of the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival. In 1990, the SECC was one of the hubs of Glasgow's year as European City of Culture, hosting concerts by Luciano Pavarotti, the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera & Bryan Adams. Upon its opening, the Centre quickly gained its nickname from the local press and thus to general usage, "The Big Red Shed", owing to its outward appearance, which resembled a giant red painted warehouse. The nickname became redundant after the Main Building was painted grey in 1997.
The SECC occupies 64 acres (260,000 m2) of land — most of which is surface car parking space — and hosts numerous music concerts, exhibitions and professional conferences. The SECC also has its own railway station, Exhibition Centre, on the Argyle Line of Glasgow's suburban railway network. The 16-storey Forum Hotel (now part of the Crowne Plaza chain) was opened on the site in 1989. In September 1996, a new 5,095 m2 exhibition hall, Hall 3, was opened. In May 1997, the conversion of Hall 1 into the Loch Suite conference venue was completed.