Timothy Khoo (he/him)
Commonplace : Terra Firma
The Commonplace is conceived in contrast to dominant and imposing civic forms which the asylum seeker and refugee communities continue to face. It is a non-institutional building with the concept of an “open house” – a concept that aims to build a society founded on the values of fairness, equality and opportunity for everyone in Scotland, where everyone matters and all are included.
The building prescribes a dual function. Firstly, it will accommodate programs which function to support and give agency to these communities. A resource centre, office spaces, casework support offices, childcare support spaces, language learning spaces, counselling spaces and emergency accommodation are some of the spaces which work to provide these communities with support and a sense of respite.
These small services without red tape play vital roles in the integration of these communities with the local Scottish population. The human qualities of these small and autonomous programs counter bureaucratic norms, impersonal relationships to large institutions and traumas faced by the asylum seekers. By changing the passive nature of their relationship to service programs, they will play an active role in the social institution.
Second, the building will accommodate open and free spaces for everyone to use. A series of open and transparent program of spaces is created to facilitate integrative efforts by grass-root organisations and smaller service providers. A workshop space, a cafe and bar, event spaces and urban “living rooms” will accommodate spaces where people can gather and for chance encounters to be experienced. These spaces are also powerful tools to engage diverse sections of the community – breaking down barriers between different groups.
Different levels of activities organised by the networks as well as mainstream culture and leisure facilities provide for the efforts in uniting people around a the issue of displacement and integration. These are key activities which will promote social cohesion and will build bridges between the asylum seeker and local communities. Art, music and cultural events could potentially link to larger city-wide projects which will further the intention to give visibility to the community, fostering integration and acculturation within the context of Glasgow.