“BARRASPEAK” Democratic Discussion Centre
Reinterpret a traditional civic forum into a new urban democratic civic typology using the casual, diverse and stimulating environment of the Barras Market and the instant knowledge and opinion sharing as well as connectivity abilities of the online civic space. A new civic typology enables the public to be directly involved in the wider range of formal civic discourses ranging from politics and economics to environment and culture. The building is arranged around four main functionalities.
Firstly, inspired by the success of democracy festivals of Northern Europe a “Discussion market” with a series of expandable spaces on the ground floor provides a place not only for talks and discussions that can be streamed online but for most of the time is occupied by educational activities or booked for coworking purposes. Secondly, the main performance hall mainly designed for conferences, talks and presentations, can also act as a multifunctional space for other activities acting as a new cultural node in the diverse network of event spaces in Glasgow. Thirdly, these spaces require an administrative support entity, that curates the events and manages these spaces which are supplemented with the Institute of Investigative Journalism and Discussion. The institute helps supporting the curation of the events in the “Discussion Market” and the factuality of the information, as well as help, expand the institution’s agenda of critical thinking, objective opinions and research-based decisions to the wider public. Finally, a mediatheque (media library) that can collect and archive the discussions and plethora of other materials in different media regarding civil liability, politics, economics, history, science and international relations for any member of the public to use. Lastly, an everchanging public outdoor modern art programme takes place on the roof terraces commissioning artists to display artworks that invite spectators to contemplate and discuss different societal issues.
By retaining the historic market’s spirit a civic urban building is introduced that supports research and educational possibilities on daily basis. Meanwhile, it provides a forum for civic discussion in the centre of the politically active city of Glasgow on a weekly or monthly basis opening up as a market and creating a network of inviting spaces for these conversations to take place. This creates an engaging, permanent and direct discussion between the public and the state, businesses and politicians.
Urban “Blue” Zones
This project’s goal is to recognize the inevitability of labour taking place in a domestic setting more and more and, therefore, to create an urban housing environment that encourages a mentally and physically sustainable and healthy lifestyle. This has been explored using the “20-minute neighbourhood” principle and “The Blue Zones” research findings. The first one informs on how to successfully integrate the housing scheme in a contemporary urban setting while the latter helps to recognize architectural and programmatic features within the housing scheme itself from the whole proposal to each separate unit. “The Blue zones” are places with the longest living people in the world and all share 9 similar aspects of lifestyle that has helped them to achieve this. Many of them are connected to the spaces, environments, and communities around them and can apply to a housing setting to create a place that helps to create strong and supportive communities among families and wider urban area. This is achieved by, firstly, managing the development as a Community Land Trust and, secondly, by providing a series of communal infrastructure and spaces that can interconnect neighbouring communities. The inhabitants can bring their work to their homes if necessary, while benefiting from the collective support that helps to distance from work, helps relieve work-related stress, promotes healthy living habits as exercising and healthy eating and helps to find a sustainable work-life balance.