Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 3

Rachel Moody (she/her)

BA Graduate in Architecture (RIBA Part 1)

I arrived at the Macintosh School Of Architecture hoping to find a subject through which I could confront some of the injustice I saw in the fabric of my society. At its simplest, I hoped that a Good Architect would create some Good Buildings in which Good Things could happen.

My time as a student has evolved that notion of Good in; Architecture, Buildings and Things.

I have developed the creative process of gathering information around a brief, constructing a conceptual response and then testing its validity through conversation. The diversity of that conversation, facilitated through drawing and model making, has been the most rewarding part of my studies. The architectural discourse around the climate crisis, social structures and a pandemic has shown the potential for role of Architects in their communities. Working as a Trustee on the Board of the Student Association and as a Representative within GSA for my year group, I have been a part of establishing and maintaining the formal relationships of the community I am living in, through a particularly tumultuous period.

For the next year I look forward to seeing how those conversations translate out of the academic environment into industry and look forward to working within a team responding to new briefs with new constraints

The Balloch Music Hall and Residential Retreat

The Balloch Music Hall and Residential Retreat

This project addresses a site on the main road through Balloch a town on the southern bank of Loch Lomond and Sistema’s brief for a Music Hall and Residential Retreat.

The Site 

The choice of site reflects the needs of both the community existing in Balloch and the Music hall and Retreat for Sistema. The site sits alongside the town information centre and within sight of the train station and two pubs. However the site is currently a fairly unresolved space at the heart of the town, boasting one of many car parks and the entrance of the bike path form Glasgow. The Project is a significant public domain giving a place to gather in that is in Balloch or to meet friends at before heading to loch Lomond or the aquarium.

The Music Hall

The music Hall has two entrances each at the riverside, one on the north elevation from the private courtyard and the other from the public courtyard through the southern elevation. Five steps up over the water edge take you from either the informal performance hall. The informality of the hall allows the space to facility and inclusive range of people and activities. The performance space creates an opportunity to celebrate the members and they’re musical progression at the end of a residency with beautiful views upriver to Loch Lomond.  The theatrics of the dual entrances and flexible partitions facilitating independent journeys for the audience and performers creates the tension and accumulation that make performance without that ostracising ponce that often comes with classical music rather than community.

The Residential Retreat

Inspired by the gradient of the site I established separated levels to facilitate privacy from the public within the music centre. The private courtyard, accessed from the Sub Ground floor of the retreat centre, allows the younger children at Sistema to optimise an outside space at the riverside with minimal supervision. This freedom in play facilities members to form independent friendships and experiences that are harder to facilitate in the urban contexts Sistema’s orchestras are based in. The change in levels allows the public to see down through the garden to the river’s edge without representing a risk to the children, this soft boarder aims to minimalise the impact of the privatisation in the space and foster informal relationships with the new community. The courtyard also creates a private route form the retreat centre to the musical hall, allowing members to migrate independently between the two buildings when the public entrance to The Hall is closed.

On the Dorm wing extends out sitting on tree like legs high above the private courtyard and pedestrian thoroughfare, the use of height to create a secure and removed environment for the most intermit moments of retreat. The dorm wing sits along the northern perimeter of the site to optimise the views out towards Loch Lomond and into the treetops. A glazed corridor runs along the southern elevation opening out into informal sitting and games spaces and facilitating access to the dorms, the façade of the building forms a balustrade allowing the corridor to open to regulate the air flow and temperature, forming a covered balcony on the warmest days. The southern Circulation along the corridor also insulates the dorms from noise pollution from the road in the evenings.

The main room allows the full orchestra to assemble for meals and meetings, the stepped seating allows everyone to see and hear the agenda for the day, at the bottom of the stairs the room passes under the public thoroughfare to glazed wall opening up to the private courtyard descending to the river edge. Small practise rooms are divided off form the space.

In Order for the team to be able to facilitate sustainable and impactful retreats the staffs wellbeing is fundamental, so sleep is essential. Within the Dorm wing there are single dorms with separate facilities allowing for a range of members needs, but also for on duty staff members to stay amongst the members comfortably, without breaching Safeguarding, while the rest of the team can rejuvenate. The staff wing also has a foyer to provide a private space if members to interact with staff.



Location Plan at 1:1000 on A3

Describes the typology of the high street, commercial and public buildings surrounding the site

Sub Ground floor Residential Retreat at 1-200 at A1

Ground floor Residential Retreat at 1-200 at A1

2nd floor Residential Retreat at 1-200 at A1

2nd floor Residential Retreat at 1-200 at A1

Section a: The Residential Retreat 1-200 at A1

Section B: The Music Hall 1-200 at A1

Section C: The Public Courtyard 1-200 at A1

1-50 model

Kids standing on lifted stage in rehearsals, view out to the north from over the water edge.

Digital drawing the Internal dorm space.

The dorms where designed so each member had two steps up into their bed, these steps where full of storage could be rolled around the space to access shelves or to form an informal stage in deep northern windows.