Glasgow Mackintosh School of Architecture MSA Stage 3

Laura Gorman (She/Her)

Glasgow // Dumfries and Galloway

This proposal celebrates the natural materiality and beauty of the site in Balloch and is designed around its climate. The theme of safety and protection is conveyed throughout the design both with safety from the natural forces and for the children of Sistema. The spaces created by the double courtyarded typology add to its protective feeling as the whole project is enclosed with an inhabited walkway and embankment. The flood risk is minimalised due to the earth berm flood embankment however it is integrated with the retreat and performance hall building and acts in harmony.

Balloch Project : Performance Hall and Residential Retreat

Balloch Project : Performance Hall and Residential Retreat

The climate consideration for the site is shown through the designing of an earth berm flood embankment. The research into the North East site shows the existing car park to be the weakest point along the river bank. This area of the site landscape needed to be the most protected. The embankment acts as this form of protection against the climate of Balloch however it also acts as a feature of the journey through the architecture. The inclusion of a performance hall and retreat into Balloch, gives the population of the town more opportunities for safe social gathering spaces with the chance to express themselves creatively. The multi-purpose aspect of the retreat can allow for the adaption of the users needs.

The children of the Sistema Project ‘Big Noise’ which this project is primarily designed for, need a space in which to relax, learn, perform and socialise. The journey from their homes in the city to the scenic countryside can be overwhelming therefore this proposal needs to consider their emotions. The design features a double courtyard series of spaces. This gives the children a sense of protection as they are enclosed in their little bubble of fun and relaxation. A walkway surrounds the external space to create a pathway of exploration in between the woodland. It also separates the public from the private sector of the site. The Performance Hall acts as a ‘gatehouse’ for the retreat and external recreational area as it is the only visible structure from the car park. It acts as an arrival space transitioning between the public car park to the private retreat.

This project questions the practicality of a flood defence system and how this can be incorporated into the architecture itself. Through the continuation of a wooden stepped feature through the 2 buildings acts as a gathering space for social interactions and contemplation. The in between spaces for the 2 structures creates an external performance space with areas to live, learn and develop as musicians and as people.


Plans 1:200

Theme of Safety and Protection

Showing the inhabitation of the spaces

1:150 Sections

Retreat Detailing

Location plan and concept

1:200 Elevations

Interior and Exterior Residential Retreat Perspectives

Performance Hall Perspective Section and Views

Site section and Renders