MSA Stage 4 School of Architecture

Hiu Ching Tang

Bringing back the Glasgow Canal
Living by the Water
The Water Resource Centre

Bringing back the Glasgow Canal

The group research revealed a problem with flooding occurring at the north end of East Pollokshields. Everyday rainwater and stormwater runoff flow over the roads toward the area where the defunct Glasgow – Paisley – Ardrossan canal (1811 – 1881) used to be causing flooding around the North Site. A Sustainable Urban Drainage System will be introduced in the form of an urban waterway – The road system will undergo modifications, a revised hierarchy of uses will be implemented. These will include SuDS in the form of a drainage channel, tree planting along the streets, a cycle lane, limited parking bays, rain gardens and areas for play and socialisation built into the design.

Reinventing the defunct Glasgow – Paisley - Ardrossan canal

Living by the Water

The urban housing design proposal in Pollokshields, Glasgow is aligning two key design concepts: Firstly, to define and articulate the interface between the public and private domains. Four 8-storey tower blocks are currently situated in the north site, yet the dispersed arrangement and urban morphology has made the public and private boundaries ambiguous. Therefore, one key idea is to redefine the public and private realm of spaces in different scales, and thus reform clusters of the residential blocks to create social encounters and interactions among residents. And secondly, it is aimed to respond to our group’s proposed Urban Strategy from phase one – the reinvention of a formerly existed canal for an integrated urban water management system and bringing up the possibility of waterfront living in the site.

The design methodology commenced with situating the new builds in between the existing blocks so as to form south-oriented courtyards that are more open, and some north-facing courtyards that are relatively more private. Circulation spaces, namely the lift core and staircase, are then placed in between two units, acting as social terraces that activate encounters on each level and threshold to keep a certain level of privacy with the neighboring units. The terraces are all open up to the south courtyard for passive design and maximize the reception of sunlight, while the staircase is enveloped with glazing that opens up the view of the canal to the north. And zooming into unit level, each apartment are formed based on 3×3 meter grid, where the living dining lounge and kitchen forms 2-3 grids and a covered balcony space of one grid are placed in the south to bring in most sunlight to the flat, and bedroom units of one grid are placed to north side that has better view and more privacy.

Such arrangement is also applied to the retrofit of the existing blocks. The room layout is rearranged, where the living room is reallocated and a new extended balcony is added in response to the big courtyard. On ground level, the wall on east is offsetted inward to create a walkway connecting to new builds and so as to respond to the courtyard. The ground level has a masonry facade that is distinctive to upper levels of the tower with white exposed concrete facade. Such language extends to the new builds to form a coherent appearance of the development in general. The application of materiality, that metal cladding is used for modular units, and bricks used for carved out surfaces of the outdoor terraces also distinguish the private and public realm in facade level.

Internal Courtyard

Facade Materiality

Waterfront Living Units

New Built VS Exisiting Tower

Creating Residential Clusters

Social Terraces integrated with Circulation

1:100 Sketch Model

The Water Resource Centre

The urban building design proposal in Pollokshields, Glasgow is aligning two key design concepts: Firstly, it was inspired by our group’s urban design strategy, that it is proposed to reinvent an urban canal as an integrated water management system to address flooding in the area. Given that such infrastructure would collect much excessive water in the neighborhood, how to fully utilize this water resource to generate environmental and economic value became an aspiration of the project.

The program of the urban building would be an educational center for water resources. In our daily lives, water could be used for different purposes: leisure, agriculture or as landscaping. It is imagined that the urban building would give a taste of each aspect to its visitors, allowing them to experience different forms of water activities like fishing and aquaponics.

Aligning with the idea of water, the site is located along the canal and at the corner, allowing landscape to regenerate recreational spaces and connecting the urban housing and the nearby neighborhood. The nature of water is about its fluidity, that interesting spatial experiences could be form by its reflectiveness and free form. The spatial collage has shown a key idea of how water and its usage could be implemented in a gigantic fish tank. It is imagined that visitors could walk into the tank and view different fish species, sitting alongside for dining experiences and fishing on top for leisure.

Combining with the idea of aquaponics, the form of the urban building should facilitate plants and animals to grow, which also passive design strategies would apply. The project is located to the south orientation for optimum sunlight and allowing stack ventilation for prevailing wind. The idea of a greenhouse and a glass box allows natural heating which would help to reduce energy consumption. An appropriate structural system is then a key for the glass box spanning 20m. A flat steel truss is adopted for its lightness and structural strength, creating a transparent envelope that contrasts to the floor slab that is a solid massing.

Retrofitting the Warehouse Complex

Spatial Collage

Ground Floor Plan


Aquarium inside a Glassbox

A Greenhouse situated in-between Urban and Natural Context

The Plantation Library

Flat Steel Truss Structure and Glass Envelope

Structural Bay Model Study

View from the "new" Canal

The Plantation Library

The Feature Aquarium