Monday, November 29, 2010

Scottish Civic Trust annual conference

The Scottish Civic Trust is running a very reasonably-priced conference in Glasgow on Wednesday 1 Decenber, and it's not too late to make a booking. The event will bring together professionals, local groups and individuals to explore the future for active community engagement in the heritage, planning and placemaking agenda in 21st century Scotland. Further details can be found on the Trust's website.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Scottish House Condition Survey 2009

The Scottish Government has just released its latest 'key findings' report from its continuous survey into the condition of the country's housing stock. It focuses on issues such as energy efficiency, fuel poverty, and the quality of housing. The most shocking statistic, which has been picked up by the media, is that around one third of Scots are living in fuel poverty and are unable to keep their homes warm.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

European City of the Year 2011

Scotland was the big winner at the Academy of Urbanism's annual awards for the best places in Europe, with Glasgow and Tobermory Harbour voted European City of the Year and Great Place of the Year respectively. The Academy's website is a bit short on the details, but apparently Glasgow's 'friendliness, local character, commercial success and sustainability' were enough to beat Budapest and Helsinki, the other shortlisted cities.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2011 architectural drawing competition

This is a quick 'plug' for an architectural drawing competition hosted by the Royal Glasgow Institute (RGI) and the Norma Frame Foundation, and which is open to architects, architectural students, and anyone associated with the discipline. This UK competition will take place in January 2011 and seeks to promote hand-drawing, rather than computer-aided drawings. Further information is available on the RGI website.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Supermarket-led development

CABE has produced a report examining the role of the UK's supermarket chains in regeneration, design and placemaking. 'Supermarket development: asset or liability?' draws on evidence from 30 major supermarket schemes, two thirds of which are mixed use. While CABE highlights a number of symathetic and successful developments, it suggests that too often the basic model for a supermarket on an out-of-town brownfield site has simply been transported to a town centre setting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Structural failure, Victorian style

The National Library of Scotland has put online 91 black and white photographs from the 1880 Board of Trade enquiry into the infamous collapse of the Tay Bridge in 1879. The dramatic images were taken after the collapse and followed salvage work which recovered debris from the River Tay.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hidden Histories: Glasgow Central Station

Scottish broadcaster STV has a fascinating four-part history of Glasgow's Central Station available to view online. Historian Paul Lyon takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour to reveal interesting facts and anecdotes about the building and its construction.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Schedule

I've been having a further poke around on the Historic Scotland website, and I see that the List of Scheduled Monuments ('The Schedule') is now online. Monument and GIS data have been brought together on the website, making it easier to search, view and download maps and information about the country's scheduled monuments. The website is yet another benefit of the Government's wider aim to make more data publicly and freely accessible online.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scotland :Building for the Future

Historic Scotland has placed freely online a new publication about Scotland's post-war architecture. 'Scotland: building for the future' is a collection of illustrated essays looking at civic and commercial architecture, housing and health, education, industry and infrastructure, places of worship, and leisure. It considers some of the architects behind the designs, and outlines the debate about the preservation of the modern heritage. There is a useful bibliography.

Monday, November 15, 2010

'Tower Block' book now online

The full text of the book 'Tower block: modern public housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland' by Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius is now freely available online. Published in 1994 but now out of print, this is a key and highly readable text on the political and architectural ideas that lay behind the post-war high-rise housing boom. There is a link to the online book from the GSA Library catalogue.

Friday, November 12, 2010


GSA students and staff now have access to hundreds more electronic journals through Project MUSE. Project MUSE is a unique collaboration between libraries and publishers, providing 100% full-text and user-friendly online access to a comprehensive selection of prestigious humanities and social sciences journals. All are heavily indexed and peer-reviewed. MUSE is also the sole source of complete, full-text versions of titles from many of the world's leading university presses and scholarly societies. Access to this resource is on-campus only.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Doolan Prize shortlist

RIAS (The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland) has announced a shortlist of 11 new buildings for this year's RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award, the UK's richest architectural prize. Images and brief background information on each shortlisted entry are available online, and the winner will be announced on 19 November 2010.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Material efficiency

An interesting and freely downloadable report from the Concrete Centre (the central development organisation for the UK concrete industry) points out the surprising fact that the industry now uses and recycles more waste than it produces, thus diverting significant volumes of waste from potential landfill and reducing the depletion of natural resources. It explains how the material properties of concrete, such as high thermal efficiency, can also contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Online resources at The Mitchell Library

Staff from Glasgow's Mitchell Library have been in telling us about some of the fantastic online resources that are freely available through the Glasgow public library network. One that really caught my eye was 'British Standards Online', about which I get asked occasionally and which can now be accessed from any of the city's public libraries, although there is a charge for printing the standards out. For more information about this and other online resources, some of which can be used from home, take a look at Glasgow Libraries' new website.