Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 5

Gabriella Togni (She/her)

Manifesto for Scarcity and Abundance is my Diploma thesis project exploring what it might be like to compare how we live in the West as the climate changes, to the devastating water scarce experiences of the Global South. Prior to my studies in Glasgow, I graduated with a First Class with Honours in Architecture and Environmental Engineering (CIBSE I/RIBA I) in May 2017 and I undertook a Part 1 position at AHMM for two years. I have a passion for social and environmental architecture, and these facets are integral to my design practice which I hope to develop further in my graduate position.

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Manifesto for Scarcity and Abundance

Manifesto for Scarcity and Abundance

The thesis seeks to propose a controversial economy that profits from climate change to the benefit of the city. Situated at the high point of Glasgow, Port Dundas, the manifesto imagines a hypothetical new market created by harnessing Scotland’s natural resources in the sale of fresh water, and represents the systems required to power this new economy. The programme reinvents Dundashill and the Forth & Clyde Canal as a key node in the city and generates a new landscape to capture, treat and export water while trading on its value.

The narrative of water capture and distribution becomes a powerful symbol for the existential threats of our time. Global fresh water sources are severely under pressure, as already experienced in the Global South, in contrast with the water rich climate and culture of the West of Scotland. While rainfall patterns may evolve, water scarcity is unlikely to be a severe threat to the population of Scotland with more extreme rainfall events increasing in frequency.

There is too much water, there is too little. The proposal aims to spark debate by highlighting the tension between moving forward in our current trajectory, versus responding to the social and environmental crises and reinventing how we live.

Tutors: Miranda Webster and Thomas Woodcock

Manifesto for Scarcity and Abundance, section drawing

Section illustrating how the proposal straddles the landscape and is born from context. The concrete heavy structure contains the water and anchors to the ground. The sorrounding timber structure represents themes of transparency and trust.

Water infrastructure in the Glasgow region

The project is born through rigorous research into the historical development of fresh water infrastructure and the effect it has had on the development of Glasgow.

The proposal within the city

Port Dundas is selected as the investigation area at city scale, tying into the canal network and the post industrial heritage.

Expanding the existing water network for export of water


The propoal encompasses a regional strategy from the Lochs of Scotland to the canals of Port Dundas.

Lower Ground Plan

The landscape acts as part of the holistic water management strategy.

Upper Ground Plan

The water processing cores create a circulation route and experience leading to the central exchange hall and views of the city below.

View of the external approach

Entry to the scheme at Lower Ground Level with view of the smart facade.

Water deposit infrastructure

Internal view of the water deposit facilities in the central hall, playing on the bank typology.

Technical Section

Detailed section showing the interaction between the water systems and construction methods.

Glasgow blessed by water

South Elevation

Elevation showing the scheme against the Forth & Clyde canal with the micro hydro installation.

Rain Gauge

The rain gauge celebrates water in the central exchange hall.

Water Capture Tower

Nestled within the wetland landscape, vessles capture rainwater inspired by the informal methods of water harvesting in the Global South.

Water Capture Facade

The facade to the East and West is supported by a second skin acting as solar shading and capturing rainwater.

Wetland View

Approach to the proposal from the East. The wetland landscape acts as a storm sink during extreme rainfall events while increasing biodiversity at the site.