Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 5

James Cave

A Living Monument: The Re-Use Centre

A Living Monument: The Re-Use Centre

Govan was once a neighbourhood formerly at heart of Glasgow’s ship-building industry. However, there is an apparent loss of identity in the neighbourhood today, with the derelict graving docks standing as one of the last remnants of Govan’s productive history. Past insensitive redevelopment of many post-industrial sites along The River Clyde threatens the future of Govan Graving Docks today.


The thesis introduces a new form of industry to Govan in the form of a material re-use centre. The project aims to be a living monument to Govan Graving Docks, respecting the historic landscape being the primary design intention. In conjunction with this, the project aims to re-introduce a productive identity to the neighbourhood – providing much needed employment opportunities and re-establishing a locally based skillset for the area.


The building programme focusses predominantly on industrial and creative reuse of derelict building materials. In order to minimise the impact on the historic site, the entire building programme is elevated above it. The method of assembly, the recyclability of the materials from which the building is constructed, as well as the programmatic function of its spaces means that the building is to a large extent capable of recycling itself. The proposal intends to question our role as designers, in response to sites of great architectural and cultural significance. Eventually, once the building has been fully disassembled, Govan Graving Docks are restored to their current use as a public space.

The Rise and Fall of an Industrial Identity - Timeline

Site Situation

Undercroft Perspective View

Section AA Through Graving Dock

Exploded Assembly Isometric

1 to 50 Detail Section Through Workshop

Exploded Axonometric

Sequence of Structural Disassembly