Links - Advertise - Contact Us

Yasmin Ali

Urbanism // Design

Research Excellence Showcase @ GSA, 25.10.13 - Architecture, Urbanism and The Public Sphere

October 25th, 2013


This year The Glasgow School of Art hosted their first Research Excellence Showcase, which comprised a morning of two parallel sessions of talks from various departments; a networking and Q & A lunch, and organised transport in the afternoon for talks and demonstrations at the Digital Design Studio, currently sited at Pacific Quay.

The backdrop for this open day for interested collaborators is the upcoming Research Excellence Framework audit submission (REF), which supercedes previous RAE assessments, to rate the quality of research provision in higher education facilities every five years.

Under the theme of Architecture, Urbanism and The Public Sphere, there were three talks, from researchers each presenting for around 20 minutes. The session began with Dr. Johnny Rodger outlining some of his research under the title 'Argonautical Serendipity', used as a paradigm to analogise the indeterminate and often fortunate findings of his research. Rodger has an interest in how literary, artistic and creative writings are involved in social, political and spatial formations. He is co-author of the book 'Tartan Pimps' (2009), which first published the 1979 plans for The Scottish Parliament after a 30 year embargo.

Public participation in art was then discussed by Shauna McMullan of the Sculpture & Environmental Art Department, who introduced her recent community engagement project in association with Tramway, 'The Albert Drive Colour Chart'. Albert Drive is a 3 mile residential street in the Southside of Glasgow, named the most culturally diverse street in Scotland. 72 residents and community members, including Nicola Sturgeon MSP were invited to choose a colour of personal significance to add to a chart which was displayed in large scale in Tramway. They were also each given a limited edition print of the chart, numbered with a key denoting colours to individuals. This played with the idea of artwork as a gift with the potential to create connections between the participants.

Urban Design was introduced by Edinburgh-based architect Graeme Massie, winner of the RIBA Open International Design Project 2005 to redesign Bonn Square in Oxford (completed 2009). Massie's practice-based architectural research raised the quality of urban space by working along themes borrowed from Scandinavian influences, such as connecting people to place; the value of craft over industrialised modern architecture and the power of singularity in materials to lend character. The architects worked with an artist to generate a digital abstraction of magnified stone and translate this into a tiled surface combining split-faced and smooth surfaces of different shades to give different tonal qualities. The space was unified through its use of one material which was folded seamlessly over the site topography and adapted to be accessible via a shallow gradient ramp. Subtle patterns in the arrangement of stone demarcate different ownerships of the site. The project was awarded Commendations from the Architectural Review and The Oxford Preservation Trust Environmental Awards (2009).


Glasgow School of Art - here

GSA Research Repository (RADAR) - here

Graeme Massie Architects - here

Research Excellence Framework - here