Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 5

Ben Scragg (he/him)

Ben is a postgraduate student at the MSA, having previously graduated from the Liverpool School of Art and Design with a first class degree in architecture. After graduating he worked for two years at Liverpool based practice Architectural Emporium, where he was involved with a number of projects involving the renovation and renewal of existing buildings; re-use became a theme that he continued to explore during his studies at GSA.

Out of Time

Out of Time

It has been proposed that Glasgow is a proto-knowledge city, reliant on its emergent knowledge economy. Vacant buildings, often former institutional buildings, can be found in areas of the city removed from the so-called knowledge economy, and are often relics from the city’s previous industrial economy. It is perhaps easy, therefore, to see these white elephants as obsolete: in place but out of time. But what are the factors that determine a building’s value, and who is it determined by? What are the material conditions that created these elephants, and what are the economic, social and political landscapes that informed these conditions? What roles did these buildings formerly serve in their communities, both explicitly and implicitly, and is their loss representative of something more than the loss of a piece of architecture?

With these questions in mind, how might a vacant, formerly-public building in an area of the city cut off from the new economy be repurposed to once again serve its local community, a community that has for decades had to tolerate its effective absence?