The façade is currently covered in layer of scaffolding, so thick that it destroys the notion of the beautiful building. This industrial feature adds a sense of ugliness which creates juxtaposition. This is almost a metaphor for the wider city. The site would have been inhabited predominantly by working class.
The façade is a beautiful notion to what once stood, yet it is covered/ hidden by a thick layer of scaffolding – we ask WHY?
• We are exploring the juxtaposition between the beauty of the original façade and the ugliness of the current situation – perhaps this is serendipitous?
• This building was not built as a monument, and it needs a purpose.
• Therefore, we propose to bring back a purpose – with the scaffolding in tact.
• Scaffolding can be a sculpture in itself – we should build upon this quirk and allow people to re-interact with the façade via the scaffolding.
• Using this as a route upwards and through, we allow people to engage with the façade.
• The scaffolding provides the inspiration for this serendipitous moment – the conversation between the old and the new, the rich and the poor.
How can we reappropriate scaffolding in an interesting and considered manner to inject a sense of irony and beauty back into the facade to give it a purpose again?
We first looked at the original use of the building as a warehouse. We looked at synonyms of the word warehouse, and due to it’s neoclassical architectural style, we were inclined to use the synonym agora which means a gathering space in Greek. Thus we were inspired to look at the site as a potential market space. Markets can play a key role in wider policy agendas such as addressing social inclusion and healthy eating. They can additionally, offer possibilities not just for local economic growth, but for people to mingle with each other and become accustomed to each other’s differences in a public space – thereby acting as a potential focal point for communities that could revitalise space. This ties in with the theme of risk in Glasgow, as the social divide and injustice that exists poses a huge risk to society within the city. Our initial design ideas consisted of using a modular design with multiple levels to utilise the height of the facade and to provide visual interest and diversity. Each module would contain various market spaces, cafes, restaurants, public seating areas etc to provide a relaxed and welcoming environment to the otherwise monotonous, corporate locale. The original essence of the city is quickly disappearing, with more and more historical sites falling into disrepair. Thus this idea tackled the concept of risk by paying homage to the city’s significant industrial past. Additionally, this idea would provide a space in which goods can be sold in a enjoyable yet affordable environment. Statistically, people of lower income are more likely to work in trade or manual jobs. We would be providing them with a sociable environment in which to trade. Thus creating a space in which people of all walk of life can mingle.
The site was built for Thomas Mann as a grain and general free stores circa 1863. The building was demolished in the spring of 1995, however the facade was retained due to its grade A listing as a building of significant interest. It is assumed that a fire on November 18th 1963 which started at A J & S Stern’s furniture factory also on James Watt street may have added to the building’s derelict state, resulting in its demolition.
Glasgow’s buildings at risk register lists the facade as being in very poor condition, however it only poses a moderate risk.
The facade is of a tall classical warehouse, with 3 storeys, a basement, attic and 13 bays. It is of the Neoclassical style.
Architectural features: ashlar frontage, ground floor channelled, 3 outer bays shallow advanced, broad band course over ground floor gives base for Roman Doric pilasters supporting entablature with deep frieze into which attic windows inserted. Central arched entrance with consoled keystone. Plain basement openings in plinth with 1 shute in each outer block. All ground floor windows segmentally headed with voussoirs. 1st and 2nd floor windows linked in tall architraved and lugged frames with ramped heads. Bold entablature with simplified triglyphs. Recessed parapet.
Upon visiting the site, it was noted that the facade was substantially covered in scaffolding, so much so that it was difficult to fully appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the facade; which we collectively decided was a real shame, thus it provoked us to conceptualise an idea that would celebrate the facades beauty whilst integrate this into a consistent and considered design.