MSA Stage 3 School of Architecture

Donnie Reid

view from canal bridge
Carrying the hotpot


The design is rooted in the principles of freedom of plan and the tension between the differentiation between physical envelope providing shelter, and objects and stories within it. Often buildings can be over designed with an emphasis on dictating how space is used, instead this building seeks to provide a platform – both literally and figuratively – for the needs of the occupants and their objects to freely exist upon. A simple grid of reinforced concrete slabs and columns facilitates this freedom. The slabs are punctured where desired and subtracted altogether creating open spaces. The users define how the spaces are used and ultimately the structure could be reoccupied with a wholly different function thus extending its life indefinitely. Free facades weatherproof the spaces and partition walls divide up sleeping accommodation however these can be removed, rearranged, or replaced in the future as needs evolve. Perhaps what is currently inside could become outside or the grid be continued vertically or horizontally to create more space. The tension between people and structure creates a beautiful chaos as objects and furniture are arranged and rearranged subconsciously as people go about their lives. This theme of order and disorder is continued in the forms as the grid is punctured by curved shapes and jagged hillside terraces.

Isometric illustration showing UFEX

Occupying the Hillside

The building provides a link across the hillside between Garscube Road and the canal.
Isometric section showing activity within the structure

A machine for exchange

The building is serviced by a gantry crane which can transport goods from the barge to the city.
roof plan

A canal pitstop

The roof acts as a continuation of the towpath where the narrow and restrictive walkway is temporary relieved allowing users to stop, chat and replenish. The space is currently set up as a market however in line with the principles of the building, the roof is free to evolve in purpose within the framework which has been provided.
Carrying the hotpot

The journey of the Hotpot

The visual connection between spaces allows for direct interaction between different users of the building.
Historical photographs

Site History

[1] This stretch on the canal was once a busy logistical hub for the city. Wharfs and warehouses scrambled for a slice of the cramped and steeply sloped land between the canal and Garscube Road. The structures utilised height to best fit this awkward situation. On what is now my site there once sat a ‘carbonated water factory’. The street side was ornately decorated with Edwardian tiles and stonework [2] while the rear consisted of two large brick warehouses. The priorities here are a reflection of how the city’s relationship with its canal has changed. A building now must be as welcoming on both the street side AND the canal side which is now a popular green space in the city [3].
A location plan showing historical urban fabric

Ghosts From The Past

Location plan showing historical and current fabric. While some sandstone and brick remains can be found deep within the thick undergrowth, the vast majority of what once existed on this land is long gone. Buildings included a tannery, maltings and a 'carbonated water factory'.
View of building from street level

Street View

view from canal bridge

Canal View

From this perspective the building appears to disappear with only the few single story roof structures on display