MSA Stage 4 School of Architecture

Berk Aral

Museum of Industrial Past
Thornwood Park 2.0

Museum of Industrial Past

Site Information and It’s Future

This project proposes a museum of industrial past on the site of the old Partick Electricity Generating Station. The site is owned by Scottish Power and is still in use as an electricity substation. The existing station building was found to be at the end of its life cycle after a structural assessment has been made. Scottish Power has decided that the ongoing maintenance cost of refurbishing the existing building would not be worth it and chosen to make plans for the demolition of the building. As part of their modernisation efforts in the area, Scottish Power has been granted a planning permission to demolish the existing station and replace it with an off the shelf container that will house some of the essential equipment that is currently housed in the existing station building. This project offers an alternative future for the site, where fragments of the existing station is retained and extended to house an important piece of Glasgow’s identity – it’s industrial past.

Urban Context

The Glasgow City Development Plan (CDP) identifies Govan-Partick as a key area where a strategic approach is needed to address the impact of Glasgow’s post-industrial decline. The Govan-Partick Strategic Development Framework (SDF) envisions the area to become a world-class  cultural cluster. The area is currently home to a significant collection of visitor attractions, cultural organisations, and creative industry hubs. However, the current  level of connectivity and quality of townscape between these locations is hindering the development of a truly world-class cultural cluster. This project aims to contribute to the wider cultural vision for the area set by the local authority through the addition of a museum. The implementation of similar new institutions will create new patterns of connectivity benefitting the existing cultural cluster in the area. This approach will create an iconic location with an entirely new dynamic and the potential for a significant uplift in visitor numbers to the cluster, as it is increasingly established as an attractive multi-site visitor destination.

Local Context

The area of Thornwood, once one of the most important shipbuilding centres globally, has a significant industrial history that gave the area its unique character. The industrial development brought with it a sense of identity, civic structure and built heritage. Unfortunately, post-industrial demolition and redevelopment of the built environment in the area led to a loss of tangible connection to this heritage.

Studies show that built environment associated with heritage is key to how people identify a place. When these buildings fall into disrepair, it dents civic pride. Industrial heritage is central to civic pride and is heavily associated with specific local identity. If historic buildings could be brought back to life, then they could be central to the rejuvenation of an area. In this context, Partick Electricity Station presents a valuable opportunity to reconnect the area with its industrial heritage. Buildings themselves are only part of the story. The way that industrial heritage connects to civic pride is also about local story-telling and family history; connecting with the work that their children’s grandparents and great grandparents did. The proposed museum developed out of the fragments of the station will function as an archive keeping the local industrial heritage alive through generations.


Thornwood Park 2.0

Chosen Site

The chosen site for the Urban Housing Proposal is located at Thornwood Park. Thornwood and Partick once had a network of railways that supported the industrial activities in the area. A rail line once went through the park. Nowadays the only remaining artefact from that history is the retaining wall of the rail line. However, the effects of that rail line can still be seen in the form of the urban fabric of the area.

Existing Use

The site is owned by the Glasgow City Council and used as a public park. As the site is on a slope, most of the site is being underutilised as social spaces. There are only a handful of flat surfaces which can be occupied. The harsh weather conditions make it hard for the green areas to be used all year. The park also has only 4 entrance points, one of which is inaccessible. The lack of entrance from the busy Dumbarton Road limits the potential of the park to become a more frequently visited space. The trees on the edge of the park also forms a visual and physical barrier to the entrance of the park.

Future of the Site

In this alternative future, Glasgow City Council is opening the site for a residential development that will turn the park into a community hub while offering affordable flats to let.

There are a number of strategic opportunities waiting to be utilised in the site. The southern edge of the site is facing Dumbarton Road which is a highly retail area that is designated as a Major Town Centre in the Glasgow City Development Plan. The block on the south of the site can incorporate retail ground floor units (e.g., pottery studio, artist studio, yoga studio) which would make it an active frontage that encourages public interaction with the park.

The park itself is going to continue functioning as a park while being utilised better. The park is divided into 3 main areas as a result of the stepping of the site. These areas provide different levels of privacy where the southern edge is suitable for large interactive public activities while the northern edge is reserved for serene smaller activities. The resulting flat surface will incorporate soft and hard landscaping that can be used all year around without being dependent on the weather conditions. The proposed scheme also increases points of access to the park. There are now 7 entrances which are located next to spaces for public activities making the street edge of the park more inviting. The relationship of the park and the residential blocks is key to promoting ‘living in agreement.’

Proposed Massing

3 residential blocks with 2 shared entrances will be placed on the western edge of the site separated from the street by a buffer zone. The buffer zone will allow the topography of the site to be adjusted -with minimal intervention to the topography of the street – to gain street level access, aligned floor levels and flat surfaces in the park.

The street facing façade of all blocks placed on the perimeter of the park will carry modernised nuances of tenement typology and will follow the roofline of the respective streets. The park-facing façades will be more intimate and open. The ground floors of the block on the west edge of the site will be designated for communal use by the tenants. Ground floors of the block on the southern edge will be used for retail purposes.