Monday, January 31, 2011

Who enjoys shopping in IKEA?

Professor Alan Penn of the Bartlett School of Architecture describes how architects use space to sell us things. In this entertaining illustrated lecture, he shows how space creates patterns of movement to bring people into contact with goods, and suggests that the technique reaches its peak in IKEA.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Another e-book in the Library

Jane Rendell's 'Gender space architecture' is now available via the Library as an e-book, complementing the popular printed version. It guides the reader through theoretical and multidisciplinary texts by a wide range of authors, and directs consideration of gender in relation to particular architectural sites, projects and ideas. GSA staff and students can access the e-book via Dawsonera.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Construction History Society

The CHS is a well-established international organisation with an interest in buildings from all periods of history worldwide. It produces regular newsletters, a selection of which are made freely available on the Society's website, together with information about the contents of its annual Journal and the papers from its 2nd International Construction History Congress.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Open Architecture Network

The Open Architecture Network is an online, open-source community dedicated to improving living conditions worldwide through innovative and sustainable design. It encourages architects to collaborate and share ideas, and is part of the Architecture for Humanity charity. The Network's website showcases hundreds of successful projects, grouped thematically, and gives details of forthcoming competitions.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Images from GSA Archives and Collections

GSA's Archives and Collections have been busy adding further images from the collections to their Flickr site, some of which will be of particular interest to architects. They include 20 images of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Art Lover's House competition entry, published in 1902 by Alexander Koch; various Beaux-Arts drawings by Eugene Bourdon; and photographic highlights from the post-war Gillespie, Kidd & Coia archive.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Glasgow Effect

On BBC Radio 4 this morning, Iain Macwhirter has been exploring why life expectancy in Glasgow has remained stubbornly low, in contrast to many similarly deprived cities in Eastern Europe whose rates have dramatically improved. Phrases such as 'emotional disfigurement' and 'internalised stress responses' make for uncomfortable listening, but the half-hour programme is thought-provoking for anyone interested in the quality of urban life. You can catch it on BBC iPlayer for the next seven days.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Belly of an Architect

The Library has purchased a DVD of Peter Greenaway's 1987 film 'The Belly of an Architect'. American architect Stourley Kracklite, played by Brian Dennehy) arrives in Rome to supervise an exhibition dedicated to the architecture of Etienne-Louis Boullee, following which his life enters a downward spiral. The DVD (no. 1844 in the Library's collection) is available for loan.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


CABE (The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) has now ceased to exist in its present form following the withdrawal of core funding by Government. During its 12 year life, it has been a valuable and free source of information on urban design, with extensive case studies of good practice. For the moment, the National Archives are providing a fully working version of the CABE website, and content can continue to be downloaded even though it is no longer being updated.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scaled and Polished

Glasgow's 1930s Dental Hospital, on Renfrew Street close to the School of Art, is rather a forgotten building, particularly as its 1970s extension on Sauchiehall Street now provides the main public entrance. The original block was built 1927-1931 by Wylie, Wright & Wylie, and its cast iron panels with their Art Deco zigzags have just been repainted from a dull grey to a much better steely blue. If you like the inter-war style it's definitely worth a detour, as the building is now looking its best for many years.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The amazing Mr Mackintosh

We've recently purchased some copies of a cracking little book, the first to be written about Charles Rennie Mackintosh which is aimed specifically at children. 'The amazing Mr Mackintosh' is partly in the form of a graphic novel, but includes photographs and key 'Mack facts'. If you think it sounds ghastly, you'd be quite wrong: it's entertaining, informative and accurate, and has been published by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society (ISBN 9780955778117, £5.99). It's likely to appeal to anyone with an interest in graphic novels, and would also be a valuable introduction to Mackintosh for those less confident with the English language.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Floating leisure village for Glasgow?

Property developers Floating Concepts have been selected by Scottish Enterprise as preferred bidders for a floating, mixed use scheme at the Canting Basin in Glasgow, adjacent to the Science Centre and Pacific Quay. The company's website has some images and text about this ambitious development. For anyone interested in reading more generally about architecture and water, we have a selection of books available in the GSA Library, shelved at 714.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Future in the Past

Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) will be presenting three artists' reflections on the rise and fall of the city's fascination with high-rise housing. The event takes place at the CCA at 7pm on Wednesday 19 January and will include a film screening, a photographic project, and the discussion of a new form of drawing specially developed to represent life in this type of housing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The Library here at Glasgow School of Art has purchased a brilliant new piece of software called RefWorks, and is making it freely available to all GSA staff and students. RefWorks is a web-based tool designed to help anyone doing research to gather, manage and store their information, and to quickly and easily generate bibliographies and citations. You can go to the RefWorks website and, so long as you're on campus, set yourself up with a username and password, explore the very helpful tutorials, and start using it on- and off-campus. Alternatively, if you'd like further information and guidance on RefWorks, please get in touch with me at

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Demographia World Urban Areas

The US think-tank Demographia has published its latest listing of population, land area and density for 1400 world cities with a population of half a million or more.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Albertopolis online

‘Albertopolis: the development of South Kensington’ is an online exhibition from the RIBA which looks at the origins of this famous London cultural quarter, and its growth from the 1850s to the present day. It features maps, photographs and downloads of the district, and charts the history and collections of its 11 leading institutions.

Monday, January 10, 2011

ArchitectureChicago Plus blog

Intelligent blogs devoted to the architecture of a particular city can be a tremendous source of up-to-date information and a good reflection of the prevailing architectural climate in a specific place. One such is 'ArchitectureChicago Plus', which has been run for over five years by architectural writer Lynn Becker. Wry, well-illustrated and wide-ranging, it's an excellent place to find out what's going on in the architectural community of this great city.

Friday, January 07, 2011

New look for the Library catalogue

GSA's online library catalogue has just been relaunched with a much more contemporary interface that should make it both easier and more attractive to use. Comments and suggestions for further improvements are welcome!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Qatar's football stadia for 2022

Following the decision to hold the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar, there is increasing interest in the design of the stadia, particularly given the country's aspiration to stage a zero carbon tournament. One starting point for information on the web is the MENA (Middle East construction news) Infrastructure website, which includes architects' visualisations in the form of movies of each stadium, together with background information.