Sandy Vile (he / him)
Chair's Medal for Architecture 2021
A Re-establishment of Making to the narrative of the Clyde
Glasgow is a city built on trade and industry and key to the city’s success was the west facing river Clyde connecting the city to the world. The Clyde was once home to shipyards, docks, warehouses, and wharfs and the waterfront teemed with activity but now this vibrant anthropocene is all but gone and the rich history is now only glimpsed in a few remaining structures, ruins and displaced monolithic stones.
One such evocative place is the Govan Graving Docks, jutting out into the Clyde, a man-made landscape, slowly being reclaimed by nature. This landscape with its three basins, once a platform for the repair of shipping vessels supporting cranes, pump-houses, warehouses, factories and people, now sits empty occupied only by remnants of a past identity and its returning residents of wildlife.
We all occupy the places of people who have gone before us; those never known, forgotten or half remembered. Today’s fast and instant culture often ignores and forgets this. However historic architecture and ruins are a way of remembering and honouring what went before.
This thesis seeks to find an appropriate architecture with which to build onto an historic fabric, not to remake or replicate what once was but to continue the narrative, adding the next layer. It is an investigation into the unfinished; how can we make architecture intended not to exist in a final state from completion but one that is added to and adapted to the ebbs and flows of inhabitants over time, with each addition adding layers and scars of its previous life.
The proposal is envisioned as a series of temporary interventions revolving around the themes of craft and identity; new urban hubs of activity and creativity occupy the docks much like the historic vessels that would come and go, each inviting life. These overtime will weather and age, possibly repaired, adapted, extended or recycled by their occupants, existing only as a temporary catalyst for self-regeneration in the perpetual landscape of the Graving Docks.
In addition to these pavilions, the proposal explores a more permanent framework, intended to develop over time by the users and the community attracted to the site by these new vessels once again occupying the basins. Sitting amongst the quayside landscape the scheme proposes a new layer to this patchwork fabric, one that will act as a physical and visible framework for future development, providing the first stepping stone to this slow regeneration and narrative of the site.