Perceptions of power

The political climate of 2022 is heavily influenced by the issues relating to climate change, pandemics, economic downturns and terrorist threats. Our elected politicians are increasingly distancing themselves, putting guards at the doors and surveillance at their fences. From behind those fences, social media is hailed as the transparent medium of dialogue and social gathering. However, in the digital agora, the truth is often veiled by ‘individual truths’ and made unclear by the overwhelming amount of contrasting ‘facts’.

The thesis asks whether the platform that is currently given to social media could be built in real life, in a shape of a transparent, modern civic centre for Glasgow and the UK. As political speech remains unclear and multidimensional and democratic involvement remains low, a place to discuss and express opinions, reiterate facts, learn and confront our governments and ourselves is urgently needed.

This thesis aims to establish a house for dialogue of multiple scales to bridge the political divide within the polarised society. Learning from the existing semantics of the architecture of governance and recognising its associated meaning, it proposes a new typology that investigates themes of transparency and accessibility of public buildings. Located opposite City Chambers, it provides an opportunity to involve a broader demographic and create a more ‘domesticated’ setting for democracy.

Showcasing activity within the project by incorporating a circulation zone wrapped around a transparent facade allows increased involvement with the democratic processes. At the same time, multiple levels of publicly accessible terraces provide an extension of George Square.

Mapping of governance

Mapping involvement

Circle of involvement

Who governs us ?

What is democracy?

Get involved

Learn, trust and verify

Site / landscape plan

Short section / possible use

Ground and first floor

Upper floor plans

A new living room for the city

Detailed section

A façade for the future

Tectonics of a new civic building

Long section