Glasgow’s Show Quarter
Can the re-activation of the high street through playful intervention, capture the character and skills of the show people to help integrate this marginalised community?
The show people of Scotland have an incredibly rich history and have been providing services for the general public for hundreds of years. Their ability to bring people together and create an atmosphere of fun and excitement has been honed to perfection as many families work together to achieve a single show. Skills in construction, engineering, entrepreneurialism, craftsmanship, team work and the ability to entertain are passed down the generations of this close knit community.
Show people have long been a permanent part of the fabric of Glasgow, owning yards that are scattered across the city. Recently, in order to avoid conflict and prejudices, the yards have been concealed behind electric gates, high walls and planting so that many people don’t realise they exist.
This thesis distils the talents of the show people and uses them to propose three permanent built interventions, as well as temporary pavilions along the high street. Shettleston has been chosen as it hosts a high concentration of show yards, and it is hoped that this development will also spark further regeneration. Although proposed as the new ‘Showman’s quarter’ of Glasgow this thesis aims to celebrate the show people across Glasgow and therefore has direct links to other yards around the city.
These playful interventions are set at strategic intervals and celebrate the culture and history of the show people whilst activating a route down the street. Thresholds as well as contracts in scales and volumes of spaces are exploited to create drama and anticipation. Playful use of colour and light mean the proposals act as beacons and key nodes along the street.
The design is built from an in depth study into the lifestyles of the show people, both historical and contemporary. A close analysis of construction techniques used by the show people has prompted a focus on lightweight versatile structures, that can be adapted and changed as the community needs.