Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 3

Hamish Niven (He/Him)

I am a RIBA Part One Architectural assistant seeking placement who believes strongly in the idea that anything left undrawn is a design decision left to another, an opportunity missed to further ensure a design is more functional, beautiful and durable.

In my third year project, I explored how the theory of phenomenological investigation, in which one determines what the “essence” of an object is, could be applied within the architectural design for a residential retreat and music hall for the charity Sistema Scotland. The object in question was an abandoned encampment found at the site. The encampment to me is the embodiment of retreat; it is a space which represented warmth and comfort, in contrast to the surrounding Balloch wilderness.

The tents themselves, spaces of privacy and isolation from the outside, still communicated an atmosphere of community due to their connection to the central campfire. The encampment’s light presence on the landscape was also admirable, as the campers had managed to sustainably reside in the area without scarring it for future use. They had embraced the site and what it offered rather than attempting to dominate it for themselves.

It was this essence which I attempted to capture within my design, in an effort to make tangible the qualities of the encampment to yield sustainable, comforting and meaningful spaces for the user.



A Housing Story

View from Salon

An interior render depicting the views across the River Leven, through a porthole window.

Balloch Retreat: North Facade

The retreat's facade makes constant references to Balloch culture and history, to better embed the structure in the fabric of the town's community. Sitting on the River Leven, the retreat's porthole windows coupled with the long span of the building suggest a resemblance to the town's historical steam paddlers. A traditional pitched roof form is combined with modern sustainable water-collection technologies, to simultaneously help Balloch adapt to the future whilst paying respect to its vernacular architecture.

The Encampment

Structural axonometric of retreat salon
Sliding door detail

Long Perspective Section

Steal Connection
Slotted Beam

Cross Section of Retreat and Performance Hall

Ventilation Slats Detail

Site Plan

Site Axonometric

Roof Plan

Ground Floor Plan

First Floor Plan

A Housing Story

A Housing Story

"A Housing Story" is an animated short film I made for my elective on Housing and Film, telling the story of a man who returns from war, and the consequences of the widespread post-war disillusionment towards the conservative government's handling of housing policy. The film was illustrated and narrated by me via Procreate, an iPad app which allows you to animate hand drawings.