MSA Stage 4 School of Architecture

Sonali Vedam

Satellite Library for the Mitchell Collections

Satellite Library for the Mitchell Collections

My Urban Building project has mostly been informed by living in the neighborhood, the initial research conducted on materiality and tectonics, and later on by the Urban Housing project. These prior research efforts have established a firm understanding of the architectural and anthropological needs of the neighborhood. Furthermore, my research project on the Mitchell Library has also influenced the shaping of this project. My understanding of the challenges and current utility of the Mitchell Library and the scope of its collections in Thornwood is the driving force here.

The library building hosts some of the collections of the Mitchell Library, situated on North Street, Glasgow. Additionally, it is also a learning center with lecture halls and workshop spaces serving as a neighborhood satellite for Thornwood Primary School. This building adds to the neighborhood context without being imposing in the residential setting. The adjoining church is a major part of the context and has been embraced at every corner. The entrance slightly steps back to create space for people to bask in the clerestory window of the church, and the bookstore windows also face this view. The building only rises in height after preserving the verticality of the church in the skyline. The outdoor staircase connects the neighborhoods of Thornwood and Hyndland while also engaging in a dialogue with the contoured site. There is a mirrored flow outside and inside the building with the way the vertical circulation is placed. This is also a key element in the strategy of creating urban and neighborhood-level squares as gathering spaces that Thornwood currently lacks. This is done while keeping in mind the adverse weather conditions in Glasgow and can be alternated for use during seasons. There are two entrances on the two neighbourhood levels; both these blocks eventually connect in the atrium.

Additionally, the response to the site through the gradual journey through the building creates a sanctuary of space both indoors and outdoors. Major emphasis has been placed on the spaces in the main reading atrium as one transcends to find “their spot”. Various mezzanine floors, platforms, and nooks have been created to form a society of spaces. Overall, the priority of this building has been to engage with people, topography, and heritage of this site.

Neighbourhood squares and Relationship with the site

Interaction with Neighbourhood level square

View from the cafeteria in the Learning Centre

Interaction between Book Store and the Adjacent Church

Spaces of Agreement

The key section highlighting the context it is set in clearly showing the relationship between levels of the site.


Behind the scenes of developing the Atrium space.

Ground Floor Plan

The main entrance on the Urban level lies at +0m. It poses a corner cantilever on top of the aforementioned entrance. The urban level square establishes a relationship with the adjacent church and the outdoor staircase.

Atrium Reading Space

The key space which has been the prime focus while creating a society of rooms. This is the soul of the building that connects the Admin and the Learning Centre blocks on the Mezanine at +14.5m.

Neighbourhood level Floor Plan

This shows the floor plan that opens on the Thornwood site at +10m, it faces the neighbourhood square and the cafetria on the "ground floor" of the Learning Centre block. The relationship with the outdoor staircase is further developed.

1:50 Section

The detailed section shows the complex materiality of the building consisting of steel frame structure, timber flooring, tiled roofing, stone cladding and concrete basement. It also highlights the damp proofing course.