MSA Stage 5 School of Architecture

Tom Ashurst

Having graduating undergrad from the University of Liverpool in 2019, I continued to work in a practice based in Liverpool to complete Part I. Then moving to the GSA to complete Postgraduate studies.

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Performance of Craft
Architectural Technology

Performance of Craft

This thesis aims to find a connection between craft and performance. How can craft become a performance?


Modern construction no longer relies so heavily on local material resources. Timber being the focus of this thesis. It’s being looked upon as a renewable material that could replace the high emissions materials such as steel. However, timber is of course not instantly renewable. It takes time to grow and mature to suitable harvesting size, and currently forests are disappearing quicker than they are appearing. Therefore, timber is not entirely sustainable unless we slow down and use only what we have, not reaching out across the globe and importing for convenience. How can architecture be designed alongside the cycle of a tree? A naturally slow architecture.


Glasgow was an industrial revolution powerhouse. The city exporting skilled work people, and material. Explosive expansion of industry required extraction from nature to power and grow itself further and as it grew, mass production became a necessity which began the downturn of traditional building techniques and materials.

Timber and skill go hand in hand. This project also aims to encourage the continuation of the passage of traditional timber construction knowledge by creating a programme that requires continual renewal, just like a forest cycle through the life and death of its tree’s.


This theme of continual renewal lends itself to a temporary architecture. Assembly and disassembly.

Glasgow’s is constantly changing yet the buildings were designed with permanence in mind. Designing in an ephemeral way could reduce the number of redundant buildings that have outlived their purpose.


Overall, this thesis aims to explore how to utilise locally resourced timber, providing a programme that facilitates both craft and performance to make a spectacle of construction and inspire the city of Glasgow to build using sustainable materials and give the public an insight to timber craftsmanship.

Sketch over model

Proposal Sketch over physical model

Manifesto Points

Wider Context Plan

Ground Floor Plan

Section Drawing - pencil

Section drawing through both programmes. the initial arriving point for visitors is the crafting site, they are taken on a visual jounrey of craft (the creation of sets and temporary structures) before being lead to the theatre.

Programme Massing

Components of the proposal

track and balloon

Tracks transport temporary structures around the new park. The structures enable craftspeople to co-create and design to exhibit their skills and performers to use as sets.

Gasholder Catwalks

Weaving timber walkways allow vvisitors to circulate around the existing steel structure of Provan Gasholders

Architectural Technology

1:20 Joint Model