Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 4

Arsia Mesbah




As a multi-cultural city, Glasgow is a diverse urban area where distinct groups of people from different community backgrounds live. This 3rd populated and largest city of Scotland is the home of the second-largest life science cluster in the UK and notable education centres which amplify the cultural diversity.

Glasgow is being transformed into a hub of biomedical activities, which will significantly impact its economy. Urban agriculture, as a trend, is increasing within communities as a part of their lifestyles. Information and communication technology, renewable energy and low-carbon innovations will contribute to the future of Glasgow.

However, this glorious city suffers from serious problems as well. Despite investments and frameworks, the economy is not in its expected shape, affecting life expectancy and crime rate. Inequality, deprivation, and shortages exist. Communities based on immigration still have a problem communicating with natives, and cultural differences make the integration process slow. These problems are more highlighted in the Colton area and the Barras market surroundings.

The rainy, windy, and cold weather of Glasgow makes gathering people on an open scape less attractive, and these days, technology such as the internet has its role in making people more distant and alone. The current architectural challenge of designing a public place or space is attracting people. Today internet and ICT have provided such a powerful artificial space which is now the home of many activities that used to be conducted in physical public spaces. As a result, new physical public places must provide engaging activities and qualities that cyberspace cannot offer. Technology, including ICT, can be employed if appropriately integrated to achieve such a public space.

This project aims to bring a public place based on the capacity of Glasgow to improve its weaknesses by creating an attractive public place and contribute to the economy of the city. It brings two main building programmes together in two main spaces. The smaller space is the home of an auditorium, including a cinema with a massive and curved screen that cannot exist at homes. Watching a movie on such a big screen is still a unique experience that would attract people but the main function of the auditorium is hosting conferences about biomedical plants and medications. The larger space is dedicated to the community area, which sits within a glasshouse where medicinal plants are grown. Other spaces such as a bar, billiard, and game stage, sitting area, café and a biomedical pharmacy are there to attract people visiting this public building to socialize and learn about the biomedical plant at the same time.

There is a unique space with VR and ICT technology surrounded by growing medicinal plant. People visiting this space first get acquainted with these plants from proximity, and then using VR technology, they will experience more in a larger context, but this time digitally. There are some medicinal and non-medicinal trees in the glasshouse to bring a more sense of green space under a transparent structure that protects visitors from the rain, wind and coldness of Glasgow. The idea of having a green space under a mega glazed structure is not new in Glasgow. After industrialization, this city has witnessed some glasshouses and greenhouses, such as People’s Palace, near the Barras.

As a source of attraction, this building is to bring people under a glass roof to communicate with each other while improving this poor urban area.