Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BBC4 Programme: 'Dreaming the Impossible: Unbuilt Britain'

A dystopian vision of Glasgow as envisaged by the Glasgow Corporation's 1945 Bruce Plan was the subject of last night's final instalment of the three-part 'Dreaming the Impossible: Unbuilt Britain' series. The drastic plans set out by the one-time city engineer Robert Bruce, show a very different Glasgow from the one we know today. Had Bruce's despot plans ever left the draftsman's desk, vast amounts of the city's architecture would have been demolished, to be replaced by replica concrete office blocks, sparsely arranged in vast grassy areas. Judging by this 3D mock-up of how Glasgow may have looked (from creative studio Playdead), the result would have been to make the city resemble an industrial estate  - a case of post-war modernist architecture gone berserk!

Glasgow may be in the habit of demolition, however the city's architecture was spared the full devastating consequences of Bruce's Plan with only a few districts affected. While innovation and optimism are keystones of any large-scale urban planning project, last night's episode perhaps serves to show the potential harm to be caused by allowing on-trend developments in architecture to dictate the character of an entire city.

For more information on the 'Dreaming the Impossible' series, read our previous blog post. This programme is available to watch on the BBC iplayer here.