Monday, October 28, 2013

Visit to Glasgow's Royal College Of Physicians & Surgeons' Library

First of all, let us apologise for not having posted much in the last week or so. We've been away on some adventures, which we are now eager to share with you!

Last Friday, Andrew McAinsh, Librarian at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, very kindly offered us the professional courtesy of a behind the scenes tour of their collection and if you haven't been yet, you should definitely drop by some time.

Crush Hall and the Library Reading Room are open to members of the public on Monday afternoons from 2.00 pm until 5.00 pm and they have a new weekly exhibits on display from their archives for you to discover.

As well as their collection of modern medicine textbooks, which members of the College can use for revision during exam periods, the library also holds a rich collection of rare books, often donated by the college's benefactors and a few of which have been digitised and are now available online if you follow this link.

As well as their books, the RCPSG also have great photos online of all the weird and wonderful instruments and artefacts from the archives collection here.

But best of all, if you go and visit the library, you'll get the chance to see their copies of Audubon’s “Birds of America”.  These two volumes were purchased for 40 guineas in 1841, and include the first 200 of the 435 prints published by the artist between 1827 and 1838.  The birds are depicted life-size, meaning that the books housing the illustrations are double elephant folio sized.  The engravings, copied from Audubon’s original drawings, are illustrated in astounding detail and each one is hand-coloured. Visitors to the College can see this beautiful work on permanent display in the library reading room.

Thanks again to Andrew for a lovely welcome and a most enlightening visit.

Monday, October 21, 2013

CREATING PLACES - The Scottish Government’s policy statement on architecture and place

CREATING PLACES is a Scottish Government website bringing all of its policies on Architecture and space under one roof. You can search for all these policies under different headings such as People and Communities, Health and Place, Sustainable Development or Culture and Heritage.

This will be an invaluable online resource for any budding or established architect who wants to keep up to date with the government's current set of policies in their field. If you click on Action plan on the upper right corner of the home page, it will also take you through to the government's current action plan for each policy, which will be getting updated over time as each item gets acted upon. Finally, the website will also be featuring projects which are believed to be at the very forefront of best practice for Scottish Architecture and City Planning.

Follow this link to find out more.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

We have Library Envy! Ten Library designs to dream of...

Our library might have gone through a fabulous upgrade over the summer, but we know we'll never compete in the big leagues when it come to library designs. Meanwhile, check out these 10 libraries to inspire your architect minds:

1) Vennesla Library and Culture House:


2) University of Chicago Mansueto Library:


3) Stuttgart City Library:

4) Matadero Theater and Library:


5) Philological Library of the Free University:

6) Kanazawa Umimirai Library:


7) Seattle Central Library:


8) Dalian Public Library:


9) The Royal Danish Library (The Black Diamond):


10) Nam June Paik Library:


Never saw yourself wanting to design a library before? I bet you do now... To read more about these libraries, follow this link to the Open Education Database Blog.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Give-Get Library: the library concept re-imagined

We were rather intrigued when we first heard of Colchester opening the first community managed ‘give-get’ library in Essex. What does a 'Give-Get' Library consist of? It's actually another great development in the successive history of new creative maker spaces such as FabLabs, etc... Working in partnership with Essex Libraries the facility on offer will grow and diversify its resources over time. However, it will start its life by hosting a history archive and an online directory of local crafters, designers, hackers and makers.

The library describes itself as follows: "A multimedia 'give-get' library works on the basis that those who access it also contribute to it. By harnessing our community's knowledge, expertise and know-how through the provision of local publishing and editing facilities, we hope to grow as a community and increase both our individual and our collective potential."

This combination of library/hacklab/archive is particularly interesting as it redefines the concept of a library as more than just a repository of books, but rather as a repository of knowledge. We look forward to hearing more from the project as it develops. To find out more about the St Botolph's initiative and its Give-Get Library, follow this link.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Visualising the use of a library

A big thank you to @robyneerica for sending us this link to an installation in Teton County Library, USA, called Filament Mind, a human information-driven installation designed to visualise the collective curiosities and questions of the library users.

Yong Ju Lee and Brian Brush, the designers responsible for the installation have organised the sum total of knowledge held in the library into 1000 categories to each of which he has attached a fibre-optic cable, which gets illuminated whenever someone searches the library catalogue for something in that topic. The result is a beautiful and fascinating light installation, which illuminates the library in a whole range of colours broadcasting the local community's insatiable thirst for knowledge. You can catch the video and get more information from Brian Brush himself here.

All I can say is that The Hatchery has some serious competition out there, so GSA needs its best and brightest to rise to the challenge. Are you in? Get in touch if you have any library related project you would like to propose to us.

Friday, October 11, 2013

King's Cross Airport: London Re-Imagined

For those of you who have been following the recent redevelopment and regeneration around London's King's Cross Station, you might be surprised to hear that architect Charles W. Glover had very different plans for that area in the 1930s... Indeed, he published plans at the time in the Illustrated London News, proposing to turn King's Cross into an airport terminal!

Check out this amazing illustration of the architect's vision:

The project obviously had a number of flaws and planes were a lot smaller back then than they are today, but I can't help feeling tickled by these architectural grand visions and what if projects that never saw the light of day.

To read more about the project, follow this link to the Darkest London blog. Darkest London is a great blog relating all sorts of little known information about London and the riches of its past.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Found: the National Geographic archive goes on Tumblr

Whether you're looking for inspiration, looking for examples of great photography or simply looking for a way to while away a few delicious hours, the National Geographic's new online Tumblr site Found is the must-see destination for you!

In celebration of their 125th Anniversary, the National Geographic have decided to open up the riches of their archives to the world in an online curated exhibition and will be continuing to add to it on a regular basis in future.

William Bonner, who curates the extensive photography archive in the basement of the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, says that even after years of digging through the shelves of the archive, he still continues to find new stories and inspiring images that increase his appreciation for the collection. This is a sentiment you can now share with him as you wonder over the beautiful photos as they get posted every month.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Coming up this Friday: Cities, Colm Cille and Concrete

This Friday is shaping up to be very exciting and inspiring indeed, starting with this week's Friday Architecture Lecture with guest speaker Richard J Williams, professor of contemporary visual cultures at the University of Edinburgh. Richard Williams has researched and written about the contemporary city for the last 10 years, with a particular focus on urban regeneration, the place of culture in the city and the legacy of modernism in urban design. We currently have most of his books available in the library's main lending collection, except for The Anxious City, which is currently on order.


The Friday Lecture is organised by the Mackintosh School of Architecture and is the concluding event of the week for the Glasgow School of Art.  It will take place at 3 o’clock in the afternoon in the Mackintosh Lecture Theatre and seats are available on a first-come first-serve basis. Non-GSA people should contact Ambrose Gillick for information, via the main switchboard or by email at

Around the same time, one of the first public events of Colme Cille’s Spiral Convocation will be taking place at the CCA followed by the exhibition's opening in the Mackintosh Gallery. Colme Cille’s Spiral is a series of contemporary art and literature commissions and dialogues rethinking the legacy of sixth century Irish monk Colm Cille (St Columba), which in its entirety unfolds across Ireland and the UK, starting and ending in Derry~Londonderry for City of Culture 2013. 


The Glasgow School of Art leads on Scotland’s ‘Knot’ that forms the spiral. This public event, along with an exhibition in Mackintosh Museum at Glasgow School of Art (12 October - 1 November) will share the outcomes of a group of scholars and artists following their short summer residency on Raasay, an island off Skye, where they have worked together to engage with the ‘extreme past’. 
The CCA event is free and will be running from 2pm till 5pm and is followed by the exhibition preview in the Mackintosh building from 6pm till 8pm.

Finally, last but not least, this Friday also sees the opening of the exhibition Cast: Innovations in Concrete in the A+DS Gallery, Level 2 in the Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane. I got given a sneak preview of the exhibition as it was getting installed last night and it looks very exciting! I expressly recommend it to architecture and sculpture students alike. You will never think of concrete as boring again... 

There will also be a series of lectures associated with this exhibition, follow this link to find out more.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

New online resource trials - Feedback from students needed

Alongside our current trial of the Art and Architecture Archive (follow link) which will continue until the 27th of October, we would also like to offer you the opportunity to try out another art and architecture database called Art Source, from October till December 2013.

Art Source has a much larger list of available journal titles, but less full-text articles than the Art and Architecture Archive, however Art Source is also cross-searchable with Art and Architecture Complete, an option which isn't available with the Art and Architecture Archive. Follow this link to have a search through the Art Source database.

We would love it if you could try out both and give us some feedback on your user experience by emailing us at

Monday, October 07, 2013

Happy World Architecture Day!

This is the second year of World Architecture Day, which will be getting celebrated this year in New York with a packed program of events and seminars, which you can check out here...

You can also check out last year's proceedings, which took place in London, following this link and you can check out their blog World Architecture Blog to find out lots of extra information about past speakers, events and seminars.

We hope you have a very productive and inspiring World Architecture Day today!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Noam Chomsky’s ‘first ever comments on the built environment’

Interesting journal entry for your architecture theory studies... You can follow this link to read what is claimed to be Noam Chomsky’s ‘first ever comments on the built environment’ in the free online journal architecture_mps.

In this full-text article, [Chomsky] ‘considers the contemporary infrastructure of the United States in the context of his writings, criticism, and thought. In doing so, he discusses the military infrastructure crossing large swathes of the southern United States in the form of the US-Mexican border. He also discusses urban sprawl as a product of what he calls “social engineering”—a project conceived and orchestrated by a sophisticated web of affiliations across the government and the private sector. Caught up in this, he also pinpoints the subprime crisis and the current economic recession as the result of a matrix of forces within which architecture inevitably played a role.’

Well worth a good read, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Drawing our National Poetry Day to a close: Walking, Poems, Buildings - A Poetry and Architecture Collaboration

A great blog post for architecture students to check out today, on National Poetry Day of all days... Follow this link to read more about Annie Finch and architect Ben Jacks collaboration exploring the relationship between Architecture and Poetry.

Maybe you’ve seen a poem written in the shape of a building—it's called "concrete poetry"—but have you ever seen a building in the form of a sonnet? Poet Annie Finch and architect Ben Jacks, both faculty at Miami University in Ohio, recently collaborated to curate an exhibit of original student work that explored the relationships between the disciplines of poetry and architecture. 

Below, Annie Finch has written a poem as a result of her collaboration with Ben Jacks:

National Poetry Day Tweetathon at the GSA Library

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

New online resource trials - Feedback from students needed

For the next month, GSA Library will be trying out 2 new online resources and we need your feedback to decide whether they're worth investing in for the future:

- Art and Architecture Archive:

A full-text archive of magazines comprising key research material in the fields of art and architecture, dating from the late-nineteenth century to the twenty-first. The subjects covered include fine art, decorative arts, architecture, interior design, industrial design, and photography. The magazines are scanned from cover-to-cover and presented as full-color page images; detailed indexing permits quick, efficient searching and navigation of this material.

This database will hopefully be of interest to Architecture students and Fine Art students across the boards. One of the best features of this archive is the access to the articles in full-text, including illustrations, so let us know what you think.

A comprehensive archive of Women’s Wear Daily, from the first issue in 1910 to material from within the last twelve months, reproduced in high-resolution images. Every page, article, advertisement and cover has been included, with searchable text and indexing. The Women’s Wear Daily Archive preserves one of the fashion industry's most influential reads. Key moments in the history of the industry, as well as major designers, brands, retailers and advertisers are all covered in this publication of record.

This archive could possibly complement the current Vogue online archive available as an online resource at the school. Let us know if you feel strongly that we could benefit from both.

All feedback most welcome at