Reclaiming Intimacy

The term theatre can be characterised in a broad sense as a performance conducted by at least one person, for an audience of at least one. The space sheltering this performance also takes the same name. At the heart of both is the connection between the performer and the audience. In antiquity the theatre took the form of an amphitheatre, providing every audience member with a focused view of the stage and presenting the actors from a close distance. The circular plan was synonymous with theatres until the industrial revolution when new construction methods allowed vast audiences from a broader social class to visit performances. As capacity increased, audiences became increasingly detached from the performance.

The circular theatre can again provide a medium for the intimacy between performer and audience required for theatre. From a circle, the brake-up of radians provide seating for the audience. Free from the constraints of rectangular plan, the seating can breathe; contracting or expanding to meet the needs of a performance. The new flexibility allows the auditorium to provide an intimate connection between the audience and the performers whether for an audience of one or four hundred. Additionally, when not in use as a theatre seating can be arranged to free the plan; allowing space for various activities. Current Barra’s community organisations such as the Scouts or the Art and Design Group would deeply benefit from a new venue.

The structure takes precedence from the post-industrial landscape of Glasgow. Anodised aluminium facade stretches down protecting the delicate timber gem inside. At the perimeter of the auditorium, the envelope opens to present the performance inside to the street. This link between the performance space of the theatre and the wider context is key in a location lacking cultural amenities.

On the west, a market street is created. The goal is to encourage vendors to interact with the public. In the near future resources will become ever more pressured, thus it is key to provide a workshop where craftspeople and vendors can repair stock and pass on knowledge to the wider community. The Barra’s was once space to dozens of small specialised workshops dedicated to skills such as japaning and carpentry. These businesses have become lost to time as the market expanded and focused on commerce however the inclusion of a community workshop can once again provide a space where masters can pass on their knowledge to future generations.

Although Barra’s context may lack a current theatre in such direct form, the site has been home to the performance of commerce for decades. The new market street can re-kindle this performance with its connection to the theatre. As our world becomes ever more data-dependant, new forms of long term archive must be provided to preserve the art of theatre. In the proposal, this takes the form of a mediateque. A digital library host to a collection of performances and audio/visual data. Any data is at risk from various factors including electromagnetic radiation. This can be as simple as UV rays that degrade storage media over the years or a solar flare that would put at risk large segments of all electronic data in a vulnerable position. It is the mediateque’s responsibility to safeguard this data and ensure that it can be accessed by the public and performers well into the future.  An aluminium screen surrounds the mediateque, acting as a Faraday cage protecting the data from all forms of electromagnetic interference. The screen additionally acts as a solar shade, allowing continuous diffused sunlight in the mediateque throughout the year.

Location Plan

Plan Parti

Seating Parti

Section Parti

Massing Model - Plan

Massing Model - Axonometric


Ground Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan

West Elevation

Long Detailed Section

Street Visualisation

Street Visualisation

Street Visualisation

Exploded Timber Structure

Exploded Circulation Routes