Imagine a City

Public spaces have played a major role in the development of democracy, serving as places where anyone, regardless of income or position, could meet, discuss, demonstrate and publicise their unique causes. However, the extent to which these spaces are disappearing due to neoliberal culture and the effect this has on civic life demands attention.

Glasgow’s current response to the issue of public space is either through mobility-centric street culture sponsored by retail on both sides, or monumental enclosed structures where the spaces become arguably not public at all. Public spaces that give everyone an equal right to be there are extremely limited, and the current pandemic has shed light on the importance of their existence. Inequalities in indoor living spaces have revealed the extent to which people are reliant upon inclusive public spaces, especially as escape for what could be a challenging home environment.

The key objective of this thesis is to offer up an urban environment that holds the following to be self evident : “All people have the right to access all spaces at all time”. The delicate boundary between private and public is studied, protecting the inclusiveness of public spaces to foster tolerance, conviviality and dialogue. Derived building landscape aims to stimulate and frame vibrant public life between buildings – on streets, sidewalks, squares and covered public areas – though the means of adjacent, small-scale enterprises and residential units. Such landscape is suggested to be applicable universally, with consideration to context adjustments.

The chosen site is located centrally in the area of a ripped away railway infrastructure, St Enoch Station. The shopping center, which currently marks the termination of Buchanan Street, cuts off the urban fabric by its large privatized nature and alienating response to democratised territory. This proposal seeks to reconnect pre-established pedestrian nodes with historic origins of Glasgow and its river front, introducing two levels of open circulation that will permeate the site from multiple directions. These paths will provide a larger footprint for public participation, in an attempt to re-connect fragmented urban areas of Glasgow. The shopping mall is suggested to be reconfigured into a public market, and a newly designed city quarter is to be established as a series of courtyards on the adjacent car park. The scheme aims to explore themes of permeability, public involvement, community prosperity and adaptability to change, to provide a true public space reactive to current societal needs. The self-built construction methods encourage every citizen to participate in the creation of market or residential units. This permits the adjacent architecture to be more democratic in nature and the ownership of area more uncertain, so that individuals feel comfortable in crossing these undefined thresholds. The resulting infrastructure enables urban spaces to be formed, architecture to be expanded and pedestrian flows to be directed.

 

Concept Image

Concept Image

Visual Critique on Consumerism Culture
Concept Drawing

Concept Drawing

Visual Critique on Filtration of People via Current Public Activities
Glasgow Urban Map

Glasgow Urban Map

Urban Connection and Voids
Concept Model

Concept Model

Program Allocation and Structural Intent
Concept Model

Concept Model

Model Indicating Individual Input into Architecture Surrounding Public Space
Site Plan

Site Plan

Key Views Connecting Current Pedestrian Flows with Newly Proposed Ones and Conditions Explaining Architecture
Planometric Site Drawing

Planometric Site Drawing

Overarching Urban Intent with Created Urban Spaces and Connections
Key Views

Key Views

Perspective Section

Perspective Section

Section Through Market Square
Perspective Section

Perspective Section

Long Section Through Proposal
Public Courtyards

Public Courtyards

Wide Range of Urban Environments to Attract Spectrum of Participants
Condition One - Axonometric

Condition One - Axonometric

Level Access via Exposed Spiral Staircase
Condition Two - Axonometric

Condition Two - Axonometric

Residential Bottom Level Access via Communal Core
Market Square Visualisation

Market Square Visualisation

Interior View of the Public Courtyard Framed by Self Build Architecture
Structural Section

Structural Section

Self-Build Sip Panel Units Supported by Concrete Mega Structure
Exploded Axonometric

Exploded Axonometric

Supporting Infrastructure with Public Design Input Opportunities
Pavement Design

Pavement Design

Technical Integration within the Ground Scape to Indicate Public Use
Construction Manual

Construction Manual

Public Enterprise