MSA Stage 4 School of Architecture

Emily Morgan (She/ Her)

Creating A Circular Community
Re-Rooting Thornwood

Creating A Circular Community

This urban building project is based in Thornwood, a neighbourhood in the west of Glasgow. It severely lacks inclusive community spaces and amenities, and despite an abundance of green space, this is predominantly privatised and/or under-utilised. Both issues can be resolved by architecturally enforcing the practice of commoning, which will in turn create a more circular, and therefore sustainable, community.

My urban building site reclaims unused, inaccessible green space, giving this public realm back to the community through the growing gardens. The dramatic topography of the site provides opportunities to connect with the community through a variety of public realm treatments and thresholds at multiple levels, reinforcing the building as accessible and welcoming. The structure also emphasises that this is a subversion of the civic building typology, focusing on using more natural and inviting materials. Timber elements are exposed differently throughout, creating spaces which feel distinct but united in their openness.

The building will provide inclusive and isolation-reducing facilities, to combat the impacts of both gentrification and a majority of single-person households, such as a community café and kitchen, as well as independent businesses. These will aid in the creation of a circular community by aligning with the concept of sharing and re-distributing resources, with a focus on producing and using local products, facilitated by varied teaching and workshop spaces. Finally, the building is intended to become a physical, and visible, home for the community council. Currently an intangible and therefore inaccessible entity, by locating it permanently in the neighbourhood it will become a greater source of community creation and organisation.

View from Crow Road

External perspective showing the main entrance to the north of the building, and the newly pedestrianised road alongside it

Crow Road Elevation

Sectional Perspective

Section A-A, showing key community spaces, including the community hall, market hall and workshops, and wider site strategy.

Exploded Axonometric

Section B-B through the atrium, and the continuation of the circulation in the landscape beyond

View of Community Cafe

Views of Atrium and Community Hall

1:500 Massing Models

Lower Floor Plans

Site, Ground and First Floor Plans

Neighbourhood Analysis

Site Analysis

Programme Diagrams

Elevation Study and Detail Section

Glulam and CLT structure, with external finishes of hempcrete and Viroc (wood fibre cement) panels

Upper Floor Plans

Second, Third and Fourth Floor Plans

Re-Rooting Thornwood

Housing for families is an opportunity to reinvigorate local communities, by diversifying the residential population and encouraging more people to establish long term roots in the area. The resulting intergenerational population necessitates the creation of a network of varied amenities and community facilities which meet the needs of each demographic, embedding diversity and inclusivity into the neighbourhood. Mixed use developments providing ground floor commercial and communal spaces are therefore crucial, in particular when they are carefully inserted into the existing urban fabric, and are well connected to existing or potential public green space.

In Thornwood, reintroducing families into an area dominated by 1.85 person households is critical as a means of overcoming the lacking amenities and sense of community. It is essential that the housing follows a flexible, social model, ensuring that the families moving here can put down long term roots in homes which will allow them to grow and change over time. This is in contrast to existing social housing, with families forced to relocate when they require more bedrooms; here, they would instead be able to negotiate and rent an additional room, or convert existing ‘flexible space’ within their apartments. This is a key aspect of ensuring liveability through the architectural design; moving beyond the constraints of space standards to provide spacious, separate kitchen and living rooms, alongside ‘flexible’ rooms separated typically by a sliding partition which can function as whatever is most needed by each family at any time.

Sectional Perspective

Section A-A though ground floor communal space and two duplex apartments, with access at first floor to private and communal gardens

Views of residents' gardens and new public park

First Floor Plan

Floor Plans

Site Plans as Existing and Proposed, Ground Floor Plan

Neighbourhood Analysis

Concept Diagrams

Example 15 years' in the life of a household in a proposed apartment. Typical apartment plans highlighting additional 'switch' rooms and built-in flexible space, and overall apartment mix