MSA Stage 4 School of Architecture

Arin Beaver


My work focuses on healing and regenerating social wellbeing, and much of this year’s attention has been on creating fulfilling spaces for people to meet, talk, and support each other. This culminated in an Urban Building project that addresses the impact of alcohol on Glasgow and the people who live here.

My architectural practice is grounded in analogue methods of creation and ideas testing such as sketching and model making. Having practiced these methods of making for 5 years now, I find these techniques to be intuitive and great communicating vessels, both in the development of the project, as well as in the final presentation. I combine these practices with digital orthographics to undertake the puzzle of realising ideas within the measured reality.

Half Cut: A Centre for Making and Sharing

Half Cut: A Centre for Making and Sharing

Alcohol occupies a huge space in our lives, whether we drink it or not. Most of us have experienced or witnessed the joys, mishaps, and horrors of this strange nectar. Often, alcohol is the excuse for a meetup; an activity with little commitment that can lubricate relationships, break the ice, and inhibit the mind just enough to make room for carthartic ‘get it off your chest’ conversation. A pint can spark ideas, improve creativity, and has even been attributed to the succesful civilization of tribal primates such as ourselves. Problems with drink have existed since its creation, well documented in oddysseys and sonnets, and ever present in historical texts. However, in the past century, mass production, bountiful amounts of hard spirits available off the shelf, and an individualised culture has led to more and more people opting to take the pint home.

By placing this new centre for making and sharing opposite one of Glasgow’s most treasured institutions, Tennant’s Brewery, this project aims to target these issues at the source. This new space for conversation and creativity seeks to provide an opportunity for Glaswegians to meet, make, and mingle without the need for alcohol. Woodworking, printmaking, and claymaking spaces are offered as an alternative context for socialising and making, and an auditorium, gallery, and basement gig venue allow for the sharing of ideas and artistic creations. With creativity and ease of conversation at the heart of why we choose to drink socially, and building off of concepts like australian ‘men’s sheds,’ this proposal offers a space for building strong relationships, deeper conversation, and a less alcohol-oriented culture, in the hope of healing and preventing deeper wounds inflicted by alcohol.

Design for disassemby underscores this project’s approach to sustainable design. This project treats the resultant building as if it were a material bank itself. Carbon intensive materials such as steel are used for their efficiency and desiged to be bolted together for ease of reuse. Timber joists, battens, and floorboards comprise most of the secondary and tertiary internal elements and the entire structure is exposed internally  and externally, allowing the viewer to mentally dissasemble the building and thus giving more value to each component. Three stone service and circulation volumes compositionally frame the extension and provide lateral bracing for the suspended wings of the building. These stone volumes comprise an inner leaf of structural mass stone masonry, sheathed in hemp insulation and faced in stone ‘polycor’ bricks. Although culminating in an 800mm thick wall build up, mass stone saves in carbon far more than it costs in floor space. The same stone used to create concrete can instead skip the many carbon intensive steps of crushing, heating, and bonding, and be taken straight out of the ground and used just as it used to be used.