MSA Stage 4 School of Architecture

Olivia Bissell (she/her)

I am Stage 4 architecture student from Glasgow with an interest in contextual community based design, minimal architecture, light manipulation and subtlety of form.
Exploring both residential and civic building in stage 4 has been enjoyable and exciting, especially within the context of urban building, I have discovered a love for designing for the urban environment and the communities that exist within it.

I enjoy working in sketches to explore ideas through diagramming and model making to understand form, light and materiality before finalising a project with developed drawings. This is a method I used and enjoyed for the following projects based in the Barrowlands, Glasgow.

Urban Building; A Gallery in the East End.
Urban Housing in the Barras.

Urban Building; A Gallery in the East End.

This Gallery in the East End of Glasgow explores the celebration of a culture of art and making in the East End of Glasgow.

Taking influence from other civic exhibition spaces around the city, cultivating an accessible space for the showcasing of local and current art, whilst supporting the archival experience of the historic memory of artistry in the East End.
The GIA festival supports the scheme on a nationwide scale, with the building acting as a hub space for this event, as well as the rich artistic heritage of the East End grounding it into its site in the Barras. Although it’s core purpose is in showcasing varied and relevant exhibits from local artists and community projects.

The footprint of the building infills the site amongst a collection of existing buildings, completing the corners of the block whilst maintaining an accessible and permeable façade. Hosting a series of gallery spaces, interweaving lobby spaces, archival rooms on upper levels, a theatre and humble courtyards creating space for the gallery experience to flow into.

The programme of past and present is echoed in the contrast of lightweight and monolithic structure, and the lightness and darkness of space.
Contrasting atmospheres arranged programmatically create a journey through the scheme as inspiring as the experience of the art, media and artefacts displayed within it; with ground floor galleries capturing bright and ethereal space in contrast with the archival and theatre spaces capturing darker, moodier atmospheres.

The scheme’s ethereal and intimate atmospheres contrast with the vibrancy and buzz of the Barra’s market and music venues, celebrating the beauty of both.

Strategy Diagrams

1. Room-Anti Room, 2. Structural Rhythm, 3. Views 4. Partitioning in the Galleries, 5. Routes Through, 6. Access.

Location Plan

The site, located with the Barrowland Ballroom and Barras Market to the north, and Glasgow Green to the south.

Ground Floor Plan

Ground level with three gallery spaces, a theatre, a series of lobbies, cafe/bar, shop and two courtyards.

First and Second Floor Plans

First level with archive, maker space, and book ended by the existing antique shop in the north west corner and studio space in the south east corner. Second level with archive room.

Structural Build Up Exploded Axonometric

A lightweight, bitty, layered scheme infilling between three existing heavy monolithic structures.

Junction Detail

Detailing the junctions where the new lightweight fabric meets the heavy stone build ups.

A Journey Through the Scheme

A depiction of one possible route through the scheme, from approach from the street, through light lobby and gallery spaces, spilling into the courtyard and back through to moodier, intimate spaces, finishing in the cafe/bar's courtyard.

Courtyard Visual

Simple iteration of the central courtyard space, offering a moment of calm and connection to the outside, in contrast to the more active, smaller bar courtyard to the left of the site.

Site Axonometric

Massing on the site, with ad hoc heights settling into the site's current state, with glazed points highlighted indicating light capture.

Atmospheric Moments Thumbnails

Detailing atmospheric moments showcasing methodologies for generating desired light capture/generation.

Bain Street Elevation and Section - Theatre Section

Thumbnail elevation and sections: 1. Bain Street Elevation with existing studio on the left hand side. 2. Section through Bain street, showing main gallery on ground, maker space and archive above. 3. Section through theatre and cafe/bar courtyard and restaurant.

Stevenson Street Elevation and Section

1. Elevation of Stevenson Street (north of site). 2. Section showing lobby, gallery two on ground, and archive above.

Corner of Stevenson Street and Bain Street

Visual of one approach to the scheme from Bain Street.

Elevation Strip Render

Detailing the materiality of the facade: Fabric laminated glass on the ground, exposed timber structure, timber paneled facade on the upper level, glazed clear story and thin aluminum roofing sheet.

London Road Elevation and Section

1. Elevation of London Road (south of site). 2. Section showing galleries one and three, lobby space in between on the ground, archive and maker space above, and theatre to the left hand side.

Main Gallery Interior

The main gallery space dons a large skylight, exposed timber structure, and translucent fabric laminated glass facades, to create a bright, ethereal, simple atmosphere.

1:100 Model

1:100 sectional model showing materiality, form, atmosphere.

1:500 Site Model

Process and detail of 1:500 site model.

Urban Housing in the Barras.

The two main focuses of this thesis lie in the domestic community and the visibility of the labor done within that community.

This district will be home to makers and traders who work and live within the community. Domesticity and labor will be re-aggregated in the district, with makers and traders living adjacent to their studios, workshops, markets, kitchens, cafes etc.


The domestic spaces will be built on the model of private cells and communal facilities; kitchens, washrooms, gardens. With the shared facilities on the ground floor, with access out into the yards and gardens in the district, and the private living and sleeping quarters on the upper levels. This is put in place to reinvigorate community and quality of living, creating wider connections across families whilst maintaining a sense of intimacy for each individual. The shared domestic facilities will become the heart of the community, with the acts of domestic labour being relieved of burden, the visibility of these acts is maximised and value is placed on the joint effort within the community.


The labour spaces will be in buildings adjacent to the domestic blocks, following the same model as the domestic space; with permeable workshop facilities on the bottom for heavier crafts, and more intimate studios on the upper levels. These spaces will be inhabited by trades peoples and craftsmen who will produce goods that will then be traded back through existing markets in the district. Industries will include textiles. carpentry, ceramics, repair work, artists etc. Common Condition, Domestic and labour spaces will share the same presence in the block, both accessing yards and gardens, communal kitchens etc.

The distinction between domestic and labour space will be made through architecture, with domestic buildings donning smaller residential size windows and with labour spaces having large, dominant windows. Referring back to the notion of visibility and celebration of labour. Movement through the district will be promoted by people walking across gardens and yards to get to their studios/workshops, to hang their washing out, to meet friends in the kitchen and tend fruit and veg in the urban garden.

Site Axonometric

The urban housing scheme forms a completed block with two courtyards, one social and one work yard and bridge forms creating an entrance into the scheme from the street.

Location Plan

The site, located in the heart of the East End of Glasgow, in the Barrowlands, surrounded by the important cultural monuments of the Barrowland Ballroom and the Barra's market, with Glasgow Green and the People's Palace to the south.

Ground Plan

Ground level, with communal kitchens in domestic blocks, shared workshop and commercial units in the labour blocks, a social bar yard to the left which BAAD opens out onto, and a workyard on the right.

Upper Plan

First to third level plan, with a range of apartment types in the domestic blocks, and artist and maker studios in the labour blocks.

North - South Section

Section through domestic and labour blocks on the north and south and the social courtyard in between.

East - West Section

Elevation Thumbnails

Elevation motifs showing the side by side distinction between the domestic and labour facades, with domestic blocks having smaller windows and the labour blocks donning larger studio-esque windows.

Archetypal Cells Layouts

A closer look at the archetypal domestic cells. With a range of one to three bed apartments on the upper levels and communal kitchens and laundry rooms on the ground floor.

Interaction Diagram

Commercial (orange) on the street. Workshops (blue) onto the courtyards.

Courtyard Diagram

Left courtyard: social/bar yard Right Courtyard: work yard

Domestic and Labour Interaction Diagram (Upper Level)

This diagram shows how on the upper levels the domestic cell and the labour cell sit side by side with a circulation block inbetween.

Domestic and Labour Interaction Diagram (Ground Level)

This diagram shows how on the ground level the domestic cell's kitchen and laundry zone and the labour cell's workshop and retail space sit side by side with a circulation block inbetween.

Reuse of Existing Building

This diagram puts forward a proposal for how the existing block in the middle of the scheme can be utilised for social and cultural social space supporting the residencies.

Facade and Form Exploration

Model Photos

1:500 model of the scheme