Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 3

Ewan Brown

Architecture is one of a few subjects that has a direct impact on fundamental issues we face as a species. Within projects, I seek to find design solutions to real-world problems whilst anticipating future needs.

My personal work is a development of historical context research, socio-political investigation and architectural history examination. As well as this, I look to reference Architecture from my Scottish, Indian and British heritage, amongst many other influences.

As a Part I Architectural Assistant, I am seeking to join a high-performing team and add value to a forward-thinking studio, with a specific emphasis on cultural spaces, retrofitting and urban design.

Balloch: Covid, cycling + the climate crisis.

Balloch: Covid, cycling + the climate crisis.

Whilst designing the retreat and performance hall space, with their own investigatory alleys, I wanted to explore additional ideas through this project. We are slowly emerging into a post-Covid future. One where the role of the Architect needs to be conscious, not only to design spaces with good ventilation to minimise future pandemics, but spaces that aid our collective need to tackle the climate crisis, or at least find solutions to adapt to it.

Holistically, I designed the site to be accessed and adventured via the use of bicycles as the primary mode of transportation, through traffic-free cycle paths within the whole site and also from Glasgow to Balloch. For many of these kids, getting out of Glasgow into the countryside isn’t a normality. To make this journey in a bus or car would simply be a journey wasted (as well as being terrible for the site’s carbon footprint). To cycle is to truly interact with nature. To feel the land move beneath your feet. A recent sustrans study showed that for every 1KM cycled= £0.42 saved by not using a car (overall cost to individual and society). Therefore the journey to Balloch itself, 33km would save £13.86 per person per journey.

Environmentally, the performance hall sits on the River Leven; as such an inquiry into rising water-levels solutions. Designed on a floating composite foundation of concrete and polystyrene, the performance hall moves with the water line. The future of architectural design will have to take into account, not only the next 10 years, but the next 100. Over 40% of the world’s population lives within 60 miles of the coast; rising sea-levels will affect all of us in some way and floating architecture is a way to adapt to it.

Good ventilation and circulation is key to protecting against another pandemic. An atmosphere of seamless and easy intermingling, whilst taking into account elements of social-distancing and circulation, was crucial to the interior spaces. Interior courtyards, exterior kitchen gardens and outdoor congregational spaces were designed. All necessary to avoid disease spread whilst simultaneously allowing the kids of Sistema Scotland to socialise and take pleasure in the outdoors.

A post-Covid future is one we are able to set the parameters to. To design spaces that aid good ventilation and outdoor convivial courtyards to socialise in. Infrastructure that deters cars and roads, instead opting for bikes and pathways. Sites that are built to sustain and adapt to the future of the climate crisis, whatever that may be. Holistically, an Architecture that works harmoniously with the land and bio-diversity, as well as with the people who inhabit it.

Traffic-free cycle path linking Balloch to Glasgow.
Location map of site within Balloch.
Site axonometric including the retreat and performance hall.
Entry into the retreat.
Floor plans of the retreat, showing the centralised interior courtyard and the circulation around it (centre), as well as the bike park on the ground floor (left).
Entry into the performance hall.
Floor plans of the performance hall, depicting an internal stand that encapsulates the stage (left). The cycle pathway that runs around the man-made island as well as the bike park on the exterior of the performance hall can also be seen.
Axonometric envelope 4m x 6m showing structural details of the retreat.
Section running north of the retreat.
Previous iteration of the retreat; an exploded axonometric demonstrating interior spaces and structural components. Since this drawing, translucent glass was incorporated onto the first floor exterior to aid privacy for the guests.
Elevation of south facade of the retreat.
Exploded axonometric detailing interior spaces of the performance hall.
Elevation of the performance hall.
Interior courtyard within the first floor of the performance hall, where students can relax and unwind between sessions.