MSA Stage 4 School of Architecture

Sofia Ann Mangialardo (she/her)

Rehousing After a Fire
Biodiversity Sanctuary

Rehousing After a Fire

healing the wound in Pollokshields

This project aims to heal the wound left by two fires in Albert Cross, at the heart of Pollokshields. The fires caused the displacement of the community, leaving people without a home, forced to live in temporary accomodation. On the south side of the street the burnt-down tenement creates a gaping void; on the other side there is a roofless structure, with a near intact façade. The new housing proposal offers new homes to the city of Glasgow. The homes accomodate victims of housing emergencies, welcoming them in a comforting space after the experience of trauma.

what makes a house a home?

When rehousing people who have been displaced, the first concern is to ensure comfort in an unfamiliar and temporary environment. As many may have lost personal objects and belongings, this project offers to find a solution in providing all that may be required, in an atmosphere that can quickly feel like a home. The presence of a ‘nest’ with a fireplace allows immediate comfort, even whilst moving and settling in. The flexible elements allow to take ownership and easily adapt the space according to personal preference. Lastly, constant references to the typical Glaswegian Tenement make these spaces feel more familiar.



Tenements on fire: the displacement of tenants

Albert Cross Fire Damage

Albert Cross Sketch blue

Elevation of the site today

Elevation of the proposed housing

Section of the proposed housing

Proposed Plans

Toolkit for Comfort

Biodiversity Sanctuary

In our cities, the widening gap between human beings and nature is affecting our care towards the planet and the natural world. This space offers to restore a connection with nature in the intensely constructed neighborhood of Pollokshields. The program occurs throughout two spaces: the permeable cage, in which the park grows and is experienced, and a solid sandstone block in which labs, classrooms, learning and observation spaces make it possible to zoom into the life of the park.

promises + needs

In an effort to compensate for the lack of natural public spaces in the area, the museum reflects the features of a park, where different pathways lead people to discovery living biodiversity. Pollinators including bees, butterflies, bats, birds, squirrels and insects live in symbiosis with the plants that grow throughout the vertical cage, the east-facing terrace and the greenhouses. Visitors are invited to foster the growth and well-being of these plants and animals, making this space a living learning tool, which caters for the surrounding schools for uses such as science classes, workshops, play areas and research opportunities.


Maxwell Square becomes an experimental park, a resource for the discovery of Glasgow’s biodiversity. The public building and the park are mutually inclusive spaces, offering both an indoor protected safe space and an outdoor experience. With education at the heart of the project, this space aims to encourage future generations to take care of our planet in a positive perspective.


Located at the heart of Pollokshields, this building acts as a reference point to the whole community. Maxwell Square sits at the intersection of changes in housing typologies, several public buildings, and important traffic arteries of the area, creating a central node of contact.

Through the Biodiversity Sanctuary

Exploded axo of the spaces

Detail section between the solid and the cage

Detail of the park structure

Environmental section