Washington Street School

Group 4D Our Proposal

The group decided that the drama of this image couldn’t be ignored, and we came to the conclusion that as the area has been irreversibly changed by this alteration- why not go ten steps further? We envisioned a Glasgow where all roads and car parks were raised as high off the ground as this one, or higher. The road network, which takes up so much space on the ground, can be moved to the sky, hereby solving all public space and pedestrian problems. Our satirical plan for large scale infrastructure redevelopment is darkened by a very real and present worry we all share; what will our cities look like in the future? Will it be a place for pedestrians to enjoy, or will our streets be dominated by vehicles on an even more alarming scale? We worry already that walking has been deemed outmoded and pedestrians are no longer a priority in city planning, and though we accept we may not have created the perfect answer, we hope with our proposal to remind Glasgow that an answer does need to be found.With that aim in mind we present ‘Taking the High Road’.

September 18th 6:50 pm

Glasgow, The Metropolis of Identities -Group 4B

During our site visit the divide in which the M8 creates through the community of Anderston is something which fascinated us.  How could a community that was so tightly bound by their bustling textile industry now lie so thread bare?

Our proposal aims to re-instate the lost identity of Anderston through interweaving their past and their present; once more placing emphasis on the residents of Anderston in the hope to regenerate our entire locale.    

September 18th 1:34 pm

Group 4D Precedent Research

  1. Ahmedabad Bridge Under space Development sought to reclaim the the space under four bridges. Their aims were;
  • Create well-lit, cohesive public spaces such as parks, shaded seating areas, food courts, gathering spaces, plazas and play areas.
  • Provide vending opportunities in dense neighbourhoods through kiosks, markets and vending zones to attract the public.
  • Improve overall pedestrian connectivity.
  • Insert public facilities such as auto rickshaw stands, public toilets and strategic parking.
  • Facilitate use of these spaces by lighting, signage and waste collection.
  • Improve linkages across the bridge under-spaces by redesigning road intersections under the bridge.

An example of their intention;

Another project with relevance to our own proposal, designed by Fernando Abellanas, is a studio located under a bridge in Valencia. The bridge acts as a roof and walls for the “covert hideout”. He suggested a similar design for homeless shelters to be posted around the city.


A simpler solution can be found at the Barrio Logan bridge. The State of California announced plans to build a highway patrol station on the same land where the city had promised to build a park. The community mobilised itself and occupied the construction site for 12 days. An agreement between residents and the city was eventually reached when the city agreed to acquire the site from the state and develop it as a community park. In April of 1973, a handful of artists and 500 painters converged on the park and painted four colourful murals on the bridges’ pillars as a way of marking the event and celebrating Chicano identity;   

2 The most applicable precedents we have found came from Superstudio, an Italian Architecture firm founded in the 196’0s by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia. It was celebrated as an important contributor to the late 1960’s Radical Architectural movement, and gives an example of the drastic raised infrastructure proposal we were imagining.


September 18th 8:27 pm

Group 4D Historical Research

We decided from here that our main areas of research should be the motorway, as that was the most powerful aspect of our visit. We split our research into four categories; 1. Historical Anderston 2. M8 pros and cons, 3. Underpass uses in the wider world, 4. Precedents to back up our initial proposal. Each category was assigned to a team member with a particular interest in that field. A brief summary of the historical research;

  1. Anderston area developed from a weavers village into an engineering district during the industrial age. An influx of migrant workers for the engineering workshops lead to shoddily built tenement houses which became overcrowded and unsanitary. Post-war redevelopment saw these unfit homes torn down to make way for the M8 motorway which now runs dangerously close to the school. The school survives as a protected structure.
  2. The conceptual notion of a city boundary is given a physical form in the M8 motorway. It was introduced as a concept in the 1940s, but construction began in 1965. Today its effects are closely studied and constantly discussed. The most basic effects are;

    • Defining for glasgow city centre
    • Vital transport link relied on by many
    • Able to bring those on the outskirts of the city in
    • Essential now due to the lack of accomodation in the city centre
    • Kingston Bridge in Anderston is now one of the busiest road bridges in Europe, carrying approximately 150,000 vehicles a day
    • Has significantly reduced congestion in the city center
    • The 1960s was a time when planners looked ahead and began work on a network of motorways. Car ownership was rising, and planners recognised the importance of freeing old residential neighbourhoods from traffic.
    • Some parts of the old A8 were unsafe. It had three lanes, with a shared overtaking lane, and the high number of fatalities and serious accidents made it clear something more than upgrading was needed.
    • Glasgow’s motorways allowed pedestrianisation of Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street
    • Relocation of many from their homes
    • Lost sense of community
    • Disconnect from the city centre to the west end
    • The loss of some areas of architectural interest and important buildings to make way for the new motorway – such as the well-to-do charing cross area and the famous kilometer-long parliamentary road in cowcaddens
    • Built for 120,000 vehicles a day when at the time there were only an estimate 20,000 so hugeee development at the time – unprecedented forward planning
September 18th 11:49 am

Group 4D Site Visit

The group was struck by the dramatic sweep of the motorway encroaching on the site- invasive and yet not uninteresting or unpleasant. It doesn’t ruin the back space of what is now a car park, but does have an almost alarming sense of presence. We were also taken with the vegetation and graffiti that add an interesting dynamism to the old playground.

In terms of sound, the noise of the cars was dominant, but steady dripping of rainwater off the pipes and light birdsong occasionally caught our attention. We felt the site had potential as an edgy urban art scene, or a children’s park/playground, but were oppressed by the feeling of vehicular dominance on the motorway and surrounding us in the car park. Their presence was impossible to ignore or overcome. We had to turn our focus from ignoring to embracing them. As a group we discussed what caught and held our attention most, and by throwing ideas out and giving each careful consideration we came to a consensus which allowed us to begin ideas for a specific proposal.

September 18th 11:44 am

Site Introduction

Post 1: Introduction to the site

Built in 1898 by Architect and GSA professor Henry E. Clifford, the 3 storey, rectangular, red sandstone school building survives to provide context to the surrounding warehouses. It retained its use as a schoolhouse building until the late 1970s when it was converted into an art centre. It was added to the at risk register by 2013.


September 18th 11:31 am