Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 5

Liam Davies (He/Him/They/Them)

I am an ambitious Architecture Graduate based in Glasgow, Scotland. My passion for the industry began at twelve years old with my determination growing more every year till now, spurred on by my interests in design, ecology and social design. I have a belief that an architects and designers should thrive to make the social landscape they work within a better place than before they began by harnessing their unique creative talents. A sentiment I live by.

The Weir’d New Clyde

The Weir’d New Clyde

Many Post-industrial cities have taken it upon themselves to revive their once key industrial rivers. However, Glasgow has yet to do this effectively despite the river Clyde being an integral part of its history. Once, one of the most important river-ways in the world, it is now left forgotten and unconsidered, taken away from the city and human scale. By looking at the potential the river holds for a modern city, Glasgow could successfully take back a huge part of its landscape.
This can be framed in the view of the ethical city, which can then be further defined into four categories.
Looking at its social interaction with the city and how to use it to connect the different sides, East, West, North and South will help bring the city closer together around a key piece of infrastructure.
The ecological possibilities are also important in modern cities and questioning what can be done to bring life back into what has become a barren man-made expanse of water. Where can ecology and the human realm overlap to create a beneficial experience for both, without hindering one another?
Exploring how the technical implications of the river’s natural resources could allow for it to not only be recreational but also a functional power generation which could help Glasgow feedback into making it a more self-sufficient city that can get closer to the goals of being carbon neutral.
Finally, how can the river be effectively regenerated? Not simply by stripping away the riverside for expanses of flat concrete but by using educated typology to create an engaging landscape rather than just a patchwork of unconnected interventions.

By factoring all these in, this thesis aims to address the issues while proposing a new infrastructure for the river Clyde, one that connects back into the city and gives back the river’s identity. Even if that means taking a ribbon of infrastructure right through the middle of the river.

Synopsis Diagram

The key to developing the thesis was to understand the Clyde and its history within the city. Having a Deep routed connection to the city through its industrial importance, it is slowly fading away within the modern city. By looking at its development over the past three centuries one we can see how much it has been changed and the potential to start changing again to become important withing the city yet again.

Years of the Clyde

The typology of the Clyde within the city changing from the 1700s to modern day. The tradition of the typology illustrates that the Clyde river no longer holds much of its original typology. Having been dug out, dredged and manipulated by industry the only reminiscence of its natural past its the directions at which it flows. This backs up the ethos to develop the river as in the modern era is the quietest development on the Clyde has ever been.

City Urban Diagram

By analysing various aspects of the city realm its made clear how dominant the car is around the pedestrian routes of the city. As well as how little interaction the river had with the city center on a day to day basis with those in the center. An additional aspect is the complicated public transport that is currently in place, showing a need for a more streamline option.

Projects of Influence

A lot of inspiration was taken from how the new infrastructure of these to projects blend well into there existing landscape while not taking from the surrounding area. Antwerp Quays Waterfront,” accessed May 7, 2021, 3“Design | The High Line,” accessed May 4, 2021,; “ 4“Photos | The High Line,” accessed May 4, 2021,; “The High Line’s Final Piece Is Complete,” accessed May 4, 2021,

Clyde Timeline

Key developments of the river within the city from the 1700s to modern day.


Post covid, outdoor social activities have been evermore important. It is key that our cities adapt to this new way of life, which in turn means architecture has to do so also. New architecture within cities must provide facilities for the occupant to be able to engage outside. Not just open spaces but designed, well throughout infrastructure that enhances the unique experience of the outdoors in an urban setting.
In a time where our environment is diminished each day, it is of the utmost importance that we think of new ways to give back what ut urban spaces have taken. The notion of the city excluding the natural world is a barbaric and outdated one. For cities to truly be sustainable they much embrace the environment in new and exciting ways. Utilising the natural resources that gave so much to the humans that settled on the land once again but to benefit not just themselves.
Statistics say that we as a city have already built well over half of the structure we will be using in decades to come, yet we still keep building more and more. However, this can only last so long. As a society, we need to find ways to reuse what we already have in the built environment. This should be the norm rather than the exception. We have a fascination with history and preservation but only with building deemed appealing. The re-use and rebirth of existing infrastructure is the way to a sustainable industry, even for infrastructure that may not be the cream of the crop.
The majority of post-industrial cities centre around a key body of water. The industrial revolution saw this. However very little still remember how much of a commodity they once were. The rivers of the built environment were the lifeblood of a city only 200 years ago. It's time that Glasgow began looking at the river as a new opportunity to bring the industry back to the local level. Gone are smoke chimneys and shipping yard but much new industry is ready for the taking. Cities only need to embrace what they already have lying dormant in their landscape


The three sites chosen are Anderson Quay, Broomielaw and Clyde St. for various qualities they held that provide opportunities to engage with the river.

Acting as areas to house social engagement on a fun and family level. The weir providing green space with Clyde’s lanes and park land that connected new social housing on the North side to the entertainment pack currently on the South side. While also encouraging an interaction with the local ecology by way of close proximity to the raised north side water level that create a human scale interaction coupled with biological pools allowing users to view the local habitat in a snapshot.
Housing anew travel hub for localised water taxi transport utilising the new canal like characteristic the weir creates by separating and reasoning par of the river. Which it close proximity to busy offices, places of work and Glasgow central station it provides easy connection to various way to travel the city more efficiently. The goal being that the water taxies can be used to travel East to west of the city centre and cut down on the massive number of cars going through the city daily. The travel would also provide more sustainable travel using new technology that does not rely on fossil fuels to run.


Providing a connection between the north and the south side of the river that doesn't revolve around motor dominated roads helps bring the journey along the Clyde back down to a human scale.


Play areas, resting spots and grassland ingrained on either side of the walkways of the weir ensure a constant feeling of activity and community on the structure. Crossing over various people that would not normally interact.


Providing wilded resting points into the city help engrain the natural envroment into everyday workings. The proximity to the river travel hub and offices on the north bank means the nature is always present when engaging with the services.


Broomielaw's proximity to the central station allows for a natural choice to have a river-based travel hub. This would help to commute around the city for those that may not necessarily live locally to the city centre. Giving options other than road-based transport.


Play areas, resting spots and grassland ingrained on either side of the walkways of the weir ensure a constant feeling of activity and community on the structure. Crossing over various people that would not normally interact.


Taking advantage of the overhanging of the weir outcroppings provides a unique opportunity to have urban nature pools. This frame the ecology of the river on a human scale. Letting the users delve into what is happening in their local ecosystem.

CLyde Giff