Friday, November 30, 2012

Shortlist of Architecture Firms for George Square Re-design

Six architecture firms have been shortlisted in the design competition to redevelop Glasgow's iconic George Square. The £15m project attracted 35 international submissions from far flung places including Australia and Sweden. The winner will be commissioned with the crucial task of redesigning Glasgow's most famed urban space. Given the scale of the proposed transformation, all statues and monuments with the exception of the Cenotaph could be removed, at least on a temporary basis. It is anticipated that the project will be carried out in two stages with the first stage being completed before the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Details of the finalists can be found at the link below. All six designs are expected to be displayed in the Lighthouse, Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture, in early January.,frameless.htm?NRMODE=Published

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Manchester Modernist Society

A unique group of influential writers, broadcasters, lecturers and general architecture enthusiasts help to form the unique collective known as the Manchester Modernists. Since its foundation in 1965, the not-for-profit  society has existed to candidly document anything of architectural intrigue around the city, be that at street level or hidden from view behind the patina of modern-day Manchester's "tarted up million dollar revamps." The history of the huge influence of modernist styles on this one-time, industrial city is distilled through the members' humorous observations and anecdotes on a website which exudes personality through its witty presentation style.

The influence of the post-war, modernist period on the area is well-documented in turgid textbooks. This site provides a fun and current perspective aimed at engaging the public in a discussion about the 20th century backdrop they inhabit. Have a nosy at their mission statement and check out the pictures of local architecture shown on the group's Flickr page.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Charles Jencks Event at the Mitchell Library

One of architecture's most significant theorists Charles Jencks is to speak at the Mitchell Library next Saturday 1st December as part of Book Week Scotland. American-born Jencks is perhaps most well-known for his public landscape piece 'The Garden of Cosmic Speculation' near Dumfries as well as having helped to steer the design of Maggies Cancer Caring Centres.  He has written extensively on the topic of postmodernism, speculating on what this movement has meant for the field of architecture in its shift from modernist design. Many of these titles are held on the GSA catalogue if you wish to do some swotting around the event. Given Jencks' affinity with Scotland via his Scottish ancestry and time spent living in the country, this is likely to be an informative, yet personal account of a highly influential designer's career.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Update on Latest Architecture Resources

Two new e-books have been added to the GSA library catalogue this week. The first, 'The Practice of Modernism' (2007) by John Gold discusses the challenges faced by a generation of architects in the mid-twentieth century following dissatisfaction at the initially well-received, infiltration of modernist architecture and town planning projects. The second, 'Agropolis: The Social, Political and Environmental Dimensions of Urban Agriculture' (2005) edited by Luc J.A. Mougeot collates the work of ten research papers in various international 'city-farming' projects to advocate for further study in the area of urban agriculture as a necessary means of developing sustainability theory. Both resources can be accessed via the library catalogue using DawsonEra by following the url. on the catalogue record. MyGSA log-in details are required.

In addition, undergraduate dissertations can now be requested at the Library Desk for 2012's cohert of graduates. A full history of all student dissertations can be found on the GSA Library website:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Flanders Moss Viewing Tower

This 7 metre high structure situated west of Stirling was commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage with the aim of providing a viewpoint over Britain's largest peat bog. Made of green oak, the tower has been constructed using 8 metre-high posts which sit on a steel platform. Interestingly, the steel piling used sinks below the surface through 10 metres of peat bog to reach clay, meaning a great deal of the engineering of the simple construction is obscured from view. Designed by Robin Baker Architects at a cost of £110k, this is a unique feature rising out of the Stirlingshire landscape, which manages to complement its historic and extraordinary setting.

Friday, November 16, 2012

GSA Building Plans on VLE

Exclusive to GSA staff and students are the drawing plans for the School's campus which can be found on the VLE. A commonly sought, but little known resource, the plans show the floor layout of the existing campus buildings. To access, log into Blackboard, and select the 'Course Catalogue' tab. From here, select the 'Support Services' folder and click on the link to GSA Estates. The 'Building Drawings' button contains detailed plans for the Mackintosh, and all subsequent buildings constructed on the Garnethill campus. Drawings of the Foulis Building and Newbery Tower are there to be analysed which may make for interesting comparison against the new Steven Holl building. Plans for the new build are not yet on the VLE. We'll blog about it if they become available!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Glasgow's Urban Realm of Alleys

A brief article looking at Glasgow's back-courts, alleys and hidden spaces features in the current issue of 'Urban Realm' a journal specific to the architectural design industry in Scotland. The article is largely pictorial and discusses the untapped potential of the city's substantial network of lanes which obscure the architectural quality of some of Glasgow's most prominent buildings from view. With little written on the subject, this snippet is a good example of the types of local discussion found in the journal, famous for its Carbuncle Award. Urban Realm is available for browsing on level 1 of the GSA library alongside the current issues of periodicals. Back-runs of the journal under its previous title 'Prospect' can also be found at the back of the ground level.

Friday, November 09, 2012

One for the diary - Owen Hatherley!

Architectural critic Owen Hatherley is to chair a free event 'The Golden Tenement Talk' next Saturday, 17th November between 2pm and 4pm at The People's Palace in Glasgow. The talk accompanies the exhibition, 'Scotland Can Make It!' at which six souvenir prototypes inspired by the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are on display to the public until 13th January 2012. The souvenirs, designed and manufactured entirely in Scotland, aim to offer a lasting material legacy of both major events whilst expressing a strong message about Scotland’s rich and imaginative cultural landscape.

In keeping with this theme of heritage, Owen Hatherley's talk will explore the impact of major events on buildings and cities using Glasgow, Manchester and London as examples to engender debate around the broader architecture themes of urban regeneration, displacement and identity.

To book your place at the event, you can contact Panel on 0141 559 4980 or at

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Designs on Kew - Follow the Self-Building Project

In a project Kevin McCloud would have been happy to get his hands on, Kew House is a modern infill house in London which landowners Jo and Tim Lucas have been working to develop since September 2010. The construction of the self-building project which is now in its final stages can be followed online using the detailed timeline. A fantastic amount of description and photographs are given at all stages from locating the land in Kew, to the appointment of Piercy&Co as the project's architects, through to the pre-application process, planning, design and construction of the house. The highs and lows of the project are documented in a casual and personal tone which manages to belie the impressive size and ambition of this inspirational under-taking.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Imagined Architecture

An illustrated archive of improvised, un-built buildings and sculptures is available to flip through online. 'Drawing Building' is a collaboration between artists Matt Bua and Maximilian Goldfarb who opened the project up to a wide variety of professionals including artists, architects and designers. The suggested categories to entice participants include such titles as 'Microcommunity' 'Misuse' and 'Technosustainable' and the submissions received veer from the eccentric to impossible, whilst always demonstrating great conceptual innovation and a fantastical vision of the future. Drawings are added to the archive as they are received by Bua, an installation artist and Goldfarb who works across artistic mediums. Non-conformist and non-conventional, the contributions here are intended to raise the profile of alternative ways of thinking about the design of the built environment.