As Scotland aims to be a global leader on climate change, activism within the community will be supported through the Climate Action Centre. The institution will provide climate concerned bodies with a public face, blending research into public life. The community will be rallied into action through the public wing where a debate chamber encourages democracy through its circular seating arrangement. Interactive workshops further engage the public with research, spilling out to the centre’s ‘internal street’ where impromptu encounters are facilitated and the building is opened to the elements. This circulation route acts as an extension of the labyrinth of streets in the Barras and helps blend the controlled environment of the centre with nature.
Laboratories in the research wing will investigate initiatives to tackle the climate crisis and monitor climate change in Glasgow. Nature is invited back into the built environment through the design, not just as a framed picturesque element, but through the incorporation of stacked nurseries. Plants grown will then be distributed to Glasgow’s brownfield sites to mature and will therefore help to assist in Scotland’s ‘green recovery’.
Natural materials used wherever possible to reduce embodied carbon in the building and encourage users to feel more engaged with the natural world. A Glulam structure housing the auditorium, café and screen room is protected by a stone colonnade which supports balconies and the stacked nurseries. This colonnade wraps around the civic building connecting the distinct elements of the programme and acts as an exoskeleton for the laboratory and workshop/ library zones. An existing building on site is retained to house growing laboratories, encouraging Glasgow’s remaining industrial building stock and left-over land to be adapted in a similar manner.