The Barras Centre for Material Skills and Reclamation
Within Glasgow’s Barras, elements of transience, flexibility and impermanence exist in juxtaposition to a strong sense of identity, history, and community. The thesis position draws parallel aims from both sides of this context of celebrating the bricolage and diversity of narratives within the site, whilst recognising the need for a more permanent approach to address urban, environmental and civic issues apparent in the present day.
The Centre for Material Skills and Reclamation brings together these ideas by connecting people and organisations with reclamation across the city, supporting material reuse and collective learning. The programme draws from and connects organisations across Glasgow already working in this area, such as the Circular Arts Network and the Material Considerations Library. Without the onsite storage of materials, the focus lies on combining the qualities shared among them of a physical place, tangible material experiences and connections to various locations and resources across the city. These connections become a fitting symbol for the celebration of multiple narratives drawn together in this new urban building, celebrating democracy, collaboration and community in the civic realm.
These ideas are embedded and expressed in the materiality and structure of the building itself. The use of stone for the main structure and envelope allows the promotion of modern re-learning of traditional material knowledge and understanding drawing from the context of Glasgow’s built environment. These outer stone walls form a shell which further building components slot into, from an internal structural ring down to infills of reclaimed materials. This conceptual approach to the materiality of the building was explored through a process of model making using plaster casts at different scales.