Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 4

Joe Sampey (He/ Him)

Urban Housing in Barras Market, Glasgow
Urban Building in Barras Market, Glasgow

Urban Housing in Barras Market, Glasgow

The project is a residential complex in Barras Market, Glasgow, drawing on a thesis of the relation between domesticity and labour. The project reacts against the rise of spaces during modernisation which were either too specific or too generic, encouraging only single use or vacuums of space with no intensity of life. This system separated live and work into a frictionless world, where people (and buildings) were treated as machines in a larger system. Architecture was employed to segregate activities and human relationships, removing the friction and ‘unnecessary’, limiting the experience of everyday life.

Through an exploration of pre-industrial precedents, my proposal attempts to return to the ancient overlapping of domesticity and labour to create a connected and social world full of activities where accidental encounters, thoughts, conversations and collaborations can occur. The collective room acts as the main spatial tool for the congestion of human interaction as well as the intimacy and civility of life. The architectural forms and facades are employed to create feelings of life and activity, and promote spaces with a cultural density for the inclusion of all people. With this I hope the inhabitants might attain a sensitivity as well as an intimacy with fellow humans and the environment in a social and open way of living.

View of Main Square

View of Main Square

Cast Concrete Facade Model

Giovani Mansueti

Giovani Stradano

Site Plan

Ground Floor Plan

View of Close

View of Community Garden

Villa Section

Villa Typical Floor Plan

Axonometric - Physical Model of Housing Unit

Exploded Axonometric of Villa

Physical Model - View of Collective Room

Collective Space and 3 Inner Rooms

Exterior Room



Urban Building in Barras Market, Glasgow

Barras market has been an important cultural and social part of Glasgow’s history. A place of exchange and a public space for the confluence of people of the city. However the area has been in decline since the post-industrial era, leaving Barras Market without public activity, and a lack of community facilities. In an attempt to create urban renewal, the programme is born out of the communities’ needs and a desire for a public offering to the city. This includes the arts, making, music and theatre. It is hoped the layering of cultural programmes onto the Barras Market can create a reinjection of a multitude of human exchanges to take place. In doing this, the building could be seen as a microcosm of the city, a market place or even a macrocosm of a bric-a-brac stall in itself.

The theatre is the primary programme for the building, drawing from the origins of the Barras Market where sellers were actors with the city as the stage and pedestrians became the audience. The theatre space therefore returns to the ancient typology of street theatre with blurred thresholds between performance and theatre, stage and city. The typology has a porous border with many points of entry and exit from lanes and streets; the stage is a public space where multiple performances can occur at the same time as well as everyday activities can be carried out; the surrounding buildings form the backdrop with their own programme activating the theatre and when there is no performance the space is returned as part of the city. This creates a far more accessible and ambiguous space for the pluralistic contemporary world, with many diverse opportunities of use and ways for people to interact with Barras Market, the city and one another. It creates a charged intensity of human activity.

This reframing of theatre by returning to the origins of the medium in influences the primary aim of the building to allow the community to gain spaces to perform the ACT of cultural exchange in the STAGE of the city. The community complex aims at being an extension of the life of the market, and the creation of city rooms, interior streets and public spaces where the theatricality of life and the city can play out like scenes in a stage set. The building becomes the backdrop for the community to connect with each other in cultural programme and brings awareness to the performance of the everyday as a cultural artefact.

External View

Florian Beigel

Barras Market Historic Photo

Concept Massing Model - Inner Buildings and The Inbetween

Site Plan

Ground Floor Plan - An Interior City

Layout Options of Auditorium

Main Auditorium Daytime Informal Street Performance

Main Auditorium Night-time Formal Performance

Detailed Section


Exhibition Space - Art Inner Building

Workshop Space - Making Inner Building

Box Theatre Space - Performance Inner Building

Education Space - Learning Inner Building