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Chris Stewart

Collective Architecture's Chris Stewart discusses his overlapping roles as architect and member of the Scottish Ecological Design Association in promoting green design to a wider audience.

Fortnightly Blog - Madrid real vs imagined

May 9th, 2016

Once upon a time a King moved his palace to the centre of his divided realm. This was no ordinary King, he ruled over the worlds first super power and the wealth from that empire flowed into his new capital. The city grew quickly never shedding it’s political roots to become a centre of conflicting views and reflect a country whose national anthem has no words. This was the chosen destination for the 2016 Stratharch third year field trip which unfortunately clashed with a reunion to celebrate Carmen Polo, beloved wife of General Franco. Dr J immediately sent out a warning to his fellow companions, avoid traditional architect black.

Checking in at Glasgow airport it quickly became clear that none had heeded the warning and the tutors would have no problems blending in with any fascist reunion. The students on the other hand were bright and cheery, to the extent our own leader Don Pedro was seriously tempted to don a discarded pink sombrero, as a metaphor to the split personality that is Madrid. Pedro resisted but later admitted to a recent Ebay swap of his 1970s AR collection in exchange for a pair of Carmen Polo’s under garments, which dwelt beneath his very own Primarks.

The sharper trolls in the box might be questioning the authenticity of the many facts being spun, and they would be correct, the bigger question is which ones. Keep a score of what is gospel and we shall see who wins, Real or Imagined. For example polls show that those who vote for the rightwing People's party are three times more likely to support Real Madrid than Atletico Madrid, anecdotal evidence backed by former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar, a card-carrying Real Madrid fan who has repeatedly mused about joining the team's management. Or Spain is now being run by a party called ‘we can do it’ who barely two years old, seek to address the problems of inequality, unemployment and economic malaise that followed in the wake of the European debt crisis. There will be a prize for the correct score.

Day one brought choices, Don Pedro had organised a tour of regal proportions including the Palacio Real where it is claimed that the Hapsburgs invented a medieval form of photovoltaics using South American gold; the Plaza Major where the Spanish Inquisition expectedly burned a witch in each corner and a large one in the middle; a rusting metal structural wonder conversion that is the Caixa Forum; and the star of the morning Pedro Salinas Library by Juan Navarro Baldeweg (1992) apparently ‘zapped out of Terry Eagleton´s discworld’. Are you keeping a tally.

The alternative choice made by myself and a handful of die hard students, was Dr J’s tour of the Spanish Civil War front line which formed the siege of Madird. Coincidently this ran from our hotel across North West Madrid to the University, most visible in the Parque del Oeste where bullet holes decorate statues and two hastily built concrete gun emplacements strategically guard a summit. The exact route is carefully described in ‘Frontline Madrid: Battlefield Tours of the Spanish Civil War’ by David Mathieson, a copy clutched tightly by Dr J as he preached ‘Imagine the war, it’s easy if you try, fascist bastards below, above us only sky’, then proceeding to mock bayonet the nearest rosebush. Our imaginary war snaked to it’s conclusion at the Dept of Philosophy, the first structure taken by Franco, which he proceeded to blow up and murder the inhabitants. Madrid held out for two and half years but in the end fell on the 28th March 1936 to the Francoist armies aided and abetted by Adolf and Benito. The ramifications of this inglorious war are still felt today in a divided country of haves and have nots. We wondered back past the humble monument to the fallen International Brigade wedged between two car parks then onto the monstrous Moncloa Gate designed by the ironically titled Modesto Lopez Otero (1949) which celebrated Franco’s victory. Through the main arch on a clear day you can see Franco’s grave, 158.23 kilometres away in the Valle de Los Caidos. Do you believe all this.

Day two, I joined Don Pedro and Ayrshire Gordie who delivered a gruelling schedule of architectural fare, frog marching us past some delicious gems such as Francisco Javier’s brutalist wonder the Torees Blacos (1968) and Moneo’s beautifully proportioned Bankiter (1977). These were sadly more than matched by some gut retching piles, none fouler than the Hotel Puerta America by Jean Nouvel (2005) complete with starchitect interiors. Middling fare preferred nicknames in an attempt to elevate their blandness, this simply brought derision as we chortled at the ‘handbag’ by Norman Foster (2009). Ayrshire Gordie had scrapped the mud off his tattie hooking boots to reveal spanking black leather which he used in an attempt to move us all quickly past these atrocities. Don Pedro was not having it and gathered the eager faced and recited jubilantly from his guide book the merits of Bankunion by Corrales and Molezun (1975), I quote ‘with it’s vocation of absence, seems to attend the ensuing carnival with some sorrow, wearing brutalist shoes it can be heard muttering, I would prefer not to.’ After scratching our heads we could do nothing but stop and gawp at the 23 storey freak show which is the Torres de Colon by Antonio Lamela (1976) affectionately known locally as ‘Plug’. Am I pulling your leg.

Day three the entire party united for Don Pedro’s tour of social housing, which started in a failed urban landscaped amphitheatre in the periphery of Madrid. We put the ruin to good use with a lively debate on the merits of social housing and it’s links to politics. After such a build up and a dangerous wander across the motorway to MVRDV’s Mirador (2005) slab block with it’s communal hole in the middle was more than a disappointment. Projects seemed to alternate between thumbs up and thumbs down, the work of the B listed starchitects varied as follows; Shepard Robson, fed to the lions; Coco Arquitectos, saved to fight another day; Morphosis, throat humanely slit; Foreign Office Architects which even Ayrshire Gordie had to admit deserved the freedom of the city. Who is kidding who.

All journeys in Madrid seem to end at the glorious triumphant of art galleries; the Prado, Reina Sophia and Thyseen - Bornemisza. In a past life I had spent many an hour wondering through the Prado, marvelling at Valazquez jutting chins and Goya’s madness, so I headed for the Reina Sophia. First stop Picasso’s Guernica partly to get the obvious out the way but this time to take in film footage of the Internationale Brigade. I was wondering why there are no historic films of the Fracoist army, when I heard a whisper, Dr J in full architectural combat gear was beckoning me downstairs into the New Babylon exhibition, what a revelation as Dr J introduced me to Constant and the Situationist City. After such an intellectual feast we were in dire need of something more physical and stumbled across the Casa Fundada a former Workers Union Cafe behind the Peurta del Sol which has managed to retain genuine Madrilenos charm. To our surprise and resembling a pair of Hemmingways there were Pedro and Gordie, for whom the bar they propped, and together we devoured Rabas and drunk Rioja until the sun also rose.

Now to the final score, a whitewash for the real Madrid as everything written is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For those students whose score matched my own please forward a self addressed envelope to Don Pedro at Stratharch who will post you his Carmen Polo's which I have to confess was the only untruth.

Huge thanks to Peter Welsh for organising yet another fantastic field trip, to Cat Mirren for her help on the trip and most of all to the students who as always were fantastic ambassadors of Strathclyde University. For the best in high brow writing please visit Jonathan Charley’s web page at

Fortnightly Blog - A Thousand Huts, a social revolution waiting to happen

March 15th, 2016

Described as an ideal, a disease and a temporary container for poetry; for architects they are a bad dose of unrequited love. They can be solitary but when more than one, they become difficult to describe. A Jabba of huts being my favourite collective noun, how then would you describe a thousand huts perhaps ‘a social revolution waiting to happen'.

This seemed to be just the case when during a leap year February, Reforesting Scotland published their new guide to help hut builders make the most of emerging opportunities in Scotland. Launched at the Scottish Parliament the event was attended by members of the planning, building and design communities, who were informed why Scotland’s planning authorities are likely to receive a new generation of planning applications. These have come about as a result of changes in the policy and regulatory framework.

The pressure building towards the publication has been long brewing and instigated by the success of the hutting stronghold of Carbeth in Stirlingshire. There the few of little means, through the Land Reform Act Scotland 2003, managed to raise the princely sum of £1.75 million for the right to buy their huts. This led to the ‘thousand huts’ campaign led by Reforesting Scotland who have spent the last 2 years producing this guide to help planners, architects and hut builders alike achieve good practice in new hut developments.  The guide explains better than I ever can, the Scottish Planning Policy ‘definition of a hut’ and it’s emphasis on preserving the low-impact, environmentally sustainable ethos of traditional hutting. For those whose interest is more legal the guide also covers pre nup issues such as ownership and hut site tenure.

With more than half of Scotland owned by fewer than 500 people, it is easy to see why hutting has more a political dimension than just 4 walls and a roof. At it’s core is the relationship and pride that Scots have with their landscape and how with half our population living in cities, it is important we all get access to our heritage. A very serious but excellent Scottish Executive Central Research Unit paper ‘Huts and Hutters in Scotland’ was published in 2000. At first read, not very helpful to the hutting cause documenting minimal numbers and no evidence of any fresh sites after World War 2. It would appear at the turn of the century huts were heading for extinction and the list of hutting colonies set out in the publication read more like a series of Historical Battles than a census;

Rascarel 1972 - Burned to the ground.

Barry Downs, Carnoustie 2010 - Legal action lost with neighbouring caravan site owner, huts destroyed.

Ardfern, Argyllshire - Small community happily co existing with owner. 2007 Argyll and Bute Council serve enforcement and eviction notices.

Hopeman - Brightly coloured beach huts with 10 year waiting list to join. Not hut enough to make the Scottish Government 2000 census.

Lochwinnoch 2015 - 35 huts reduced to 7 huts, two owned by the Andrews Family from Wellhouse, East Glasgow. Eddie Andrews still organises trips for the Wellhouse Junior Walking Club to his huts.

Carbeth 1920 - Partly built to house survivors of the Clydebank Blitz and incorporating ladies lido. Legal success winning the right to buy, May 2013, the fightback begins.

I am hopeful that architects will flirt seriously with this social revolution as our very own Le Corbusier loved a hut. There are many others such as Aalto’s wonderful Muuratsalo summer getaway but nothing compares with Corb’s petite cabanon on the Cote d’ Azur. It’s vital statistics measure exactly 2.26 meter high (modular man with one arm above his head) with 3.66 meter sides (two modular men lying in a row). Originally built for his wife as a result from a fall out with Eileen Gray, it was paid for by building his Unitie de Camping, inspired by Gypsy caravans, for local restauranteur Mme. Rebutato. Le Corbusier lived here, off and on, for 18 years and it became, in part, the inspiration for the Unite d’Habitation in neighbouring Marseille. Corb shared a love for tranquility with fellow hutters and it allowed him to draw, dream and exist. It was in the Cote D’Azur that the city of Changridah was conceived together with his most wonderful of his masterpieces, the Chapel of Ronchamp. He died in in 1965 in the manner he wished, swimming out to sea in sight of his beloved petite cabanon which together with Eileen Gray’s house, and his Unitie de Camping have been posted for a 2013 UNESCO world heritage listing.

The Carbeth Huts beat the Cote D’Azur by 10 years, achieving the much prized Stirling Council Conservation status in 2003. It is not now possible to self build in your own image, you have to follow the Planner’s Guide to build a rickety shed. Specific window sizes, the correct rough looking materials and how to erect CCTV in woodland are all now carefully specified. This goes against the earlier aspiration for an ecological and low carbon economy of hutting; where much is recycled or plucked from a skip and where energy is taken naturally. Despite my comments Stirling Council’s Carbeth ‘Conservation Area Management Statement’ has pride of place in the Carbeth Hutters Community Company, web site. Whilst perhaps restrictive to their open philosophy the Conservation Status has been a clear acknowledgement of their culture and helped the cause.

The New Hutting Development publication is a decent read and offers excellent guidance. It will be fascinating to see if the recent breakthrough leads to something more lasting and whether local authorities will now consider hutting in their development plans. I would recommend that those who are interested download a copy of the document at and perhaps help rekindle our romance with these structures who really don’t need us.

For the video of William Roberts short poetic film of Carbeth Huts, their owners and their alternative lifestyles visit

For Jonathan Glancey’s video of Le Corbusiers replica cabanon at the RIBA in London visit

Fortnightly Blog - We three Architects of Orient are

December 20th, 2015

It is an astronomical fact that Halley's Comet flew “westward leading” over Syria, 2015 winters ago. The Kings in that story were led by the star of wonder to Bethlehem, so geography tells us these three Magi travelled across that same land. With the Arab Spring receding and so many fleeing in the opposite direction what light can Syrian architecture follow once the grim events unfolding have taken their course.

The scale of the Orient, calculated by the French who like to include North Africa, is vast. Syria is but a small part of this mythical world but has harboured more ethnic and religious groups than any other. This has included Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans, Turks, Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis which has left a rich landscape of architecture and archaeological heritage, at the mercy of a conflict which encourages looting and destruction. Whilst nothing compares to the human cost, spectacular monuments such as the ancient city of Palmyra are defenceless and modern cities such as Aleppo, a historic urban jewel, lies in tatters. Aleppo, larger than and lesser known than its sister Damascus, has been the scene of the fiercest fighting and looks set to take its place amongst Dresden, Coventry and Hiroshima.

As vulnerable as the past may be, pre civil war Syria was well known for it’s advancements in the field of education and home to a number of thriving architectural schools. All Syrian education is a casualty of the war, with school attendance rates dropping to as low as 6% and over 500 cases of kidnappings and killings targeting schoolteachers and university professors, continuing an architectural education in this context is pretty challenging. One method has been to send students abroad to finish their studies in friendly countries such as China, Russia and Iran; unbelievably countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany held sanction against these possibilities and the USA free education provider still blocks access to Syrian students.

Through all these hurdles some stars do shine, following ideas of contemporary need and historical cultural value (where else does such a combination seem more appropriate) it is great to see three bright young Syrian architects find their way. The CA’ASI ‘Young Arab Architects’ competition in 2012 awarded honourable mentions to Nivine Ibeche for her project ‘Alif, LAM: between body and Damascus, an architectural dialogue’ and Ahmad Tehlawi for his project ‘Alkelania district archeological site’ both exhibited as part of the Venice Biennale. Abdullatif Dalloul a post graduate student from the Tsinghua School of Architecture in Bejing, joins this regal company, winning the 2015 UIA (International Union for Architects) competition for his “Syria Smart Skin”, a mobile medical device unit for public health, his inspiration drawn from fundamental needs affected by disaster. Abdullatif still works in China; Ahmed was forced to leave Syria as a refugee and now works in Berlin; and Nivine may have recently returned to Damascus from Paris, posting on the website “Syrian Eyes of the World” her intention to return for the same reasons that led her to leave. She works as an artist learning from the old city of Damascus with its labyrinths, contradictions, enigmas and rebellion.

Syria was granted independence from France in 1946, up to which point there was not one single architect living in the country, all design work being carried out by foreign multi purpose offices. It took until 1950 for architecture to be taught at a Syrian University and only as one of four specialisations in Engineering. Pre civil war there were 7000 architects, encouragingly 43% women and 67% male, un-encouragingly two-thirds of both were employed by construction firms. It is therefore not surprising that few contemporary Syrian architects emerged from the second half of the 20th century. Of those that did the two issues of modernity and tradition fought hard against each other, different architects choosing different approaches. Syria had to wait until the start of the 21st century for a third more meaningful gift combining contemporary need, sometimes to the extreme and a depth of historical cultural which could only exist in what is known as the cradle of civilisation.

The resilience of the young architects forced to follow their light to foreign shores bring hope through their determination to return. No one can predict the outcome of the horrific conflict and what they will return to, however some have dared to make plans. ’The Future of Syria’ project has consulted with a thousand Syrians to determine how Aleppo will function when the fighting ends. Foreign young architects also try to help, Cameron Sinclair and Pouya Khazaeli have founded RE:Build where Syrian refugees with no prior knowledge of construction build themselves schools from local and available materials such as scaffolding, sand and stone. This allows their children to continue their education where currently two-thirds cannot and ensures they once again feel in charge of their own destiny. This is a brilliant, adaptive short term solution however the longer term lies with the likes of our Three Young Architects of the Orient, may their star lead them home to help rebuild Syria.


For further information on the good folk of Syria check out


Fortnightly Blog - View from the Plague

June 23rd, 2015

Humanity is a plague engulfing planet earth. I first encountered this revelation in a conversation between Agent Smith and Morpheus during a screening of the Matrix. Whilst classifying humans, Smith came the to the conclusion that we were are not actually mammals, as mammals instinctively develop a natural equilibrium with their surrounding environment. Humans of course do not, we multiply until every natural resource is consumed after which we colonise. Smith correctly explained to Morpheus the only other organism which follows such a pattern is disease. What is your view.

Recently these thoughts have been polarised by the ever present issue of migration and populist contributions from the likes of David Attenborough and Katie Hopkins. David with his warning that the frightening explosion in human population is eating up the earth’s resource to the point that the only reasonable alternative is to reduce that population by 2 billion souls. The opposite is the reality as numbers are set to increase by 2 billion over the next 50 years. Natural selection is now so skewed that David, our cuddly malthusian and patron of the charity Population Matters, calls for improved birth control. Jock shock Katie is more economic and would hold back machine gunning drowning migrants to save bullets.

There is little doubt that we swim in a sophisticated plague exponentially fuelled by global capitalism. As with all organisms the view from the eye of the storm is acceptably comfortable while the edges are a tad wretched; migrants flee public beheadings, starvation, political oppression and civil war. Fuelling Katie Hopkins and her form of entertainment shares the ambiguity of the issue, if we can accept we are living in a plague of sorts, we have to temper our views accordingly. Katie may gush poison with expletives such as migrant cockroaches but has to accept in her metaphor they try only to join the rich vermin and enjoy the best pickings from the garbage we produce. Likewise the smug sustainability community have to accept they are part of the same plague, it’s all ours.

The Matrix was first screened 15 years ago, 15 years before that James Lovelock published the Gaia hypothesis that our planet functions as a single living organism. A view that humanity will conquer all, halt climate change and live happily ever after. Lovelock has had to look a different way and listen to creepy nihilist sorts such as The Church of Euthanasia, ‘Save the Planet Kill Yourself’. Their view is that of the astronaut looking down on manmade patterns which resemble nothing so much as the skin condition of cancer patients. Slag heaps, garbage dumps, saline bleeds, bomb craters, open pit mines, top soil erosion, sewerage discharge, checkerboard clearcuts all feature in Kent McDougall's essay ‘Humans as Cancer’. The mist has cleared on Lovelock’s view to such an extent that ‘Climate change may just be the mechanism through which the planet eases its human burden'.

What do we see. The exodus is televised, an epic of biblical proportion where the fury of boils, thunder and death of your first born can be viewed in high definition on flatscreen somavision, past-over by a glut of low interest loans. A two billion population excess giving credence to Nazi ‘Lebensraum’ and the right for a superior race to displace the unhealthy and feeble; an understanding of Russian ‘Dekulakization’ and the destruction of 15 million kulaks; an appreciation of the American frontier, the rape of resource and the use of birthrate as a weapon. Comfortable with our fair trade coffee break, the view from an overpriced raft sinking into the Mediterranean weighed down by your unborn, whose hopes lie in an E.U. back room power struggle is less panoramic.

What do I see. A plague is a large number of animals infesting a place and causing damage. The view from within is often hidden as in the proverbial wood and trees. Some put faith in religion and a place in Valhalla, others in science and the power of GM crops so that one day humanity will triumph. Others know that one day the sun will become a red dwarf and turn all to dust. Until that day we may as well enjoy the diseased ride as best we can but why take down so many of our companions ahead their time. Grasshoppers change to locust when they swarm, humanity changes from David to Katie when we proliferate.


SEDA's Krystyna Johnson Award Exhibition will be held at the Lighthouse from 29th October 2015 until 13th January 2016. Prof. Sandy Halliday will deliver the inaugural Howard Liddell Lecture at the opening of the exhibition on the 29th October 2015, 6.00 pm at the Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow.

The overall winner of the KJ Award 2015 is Olivia Page of the Mackintosh School of Architecture for her proposed ‘Place of Amenity’ in Beith. The overall winners certificate will be presented by Jim Johnson on the 29th October.

Fortnightly Blog - Milano, dig that fascist groove thing

March 9th, 2015

Black shirts, white buildings and red eyes coloured our vision of Milano on our annual Strathclyde School of Architecture third year field trip. Stronghold of Benito Mussolini and home to Giuseppe Terragni pioneer of the Italian Modern Movement under the rubric of Rationalism. Not your usual biscuit box Italian city but what could our Fifty eager students unearth and what skeletons could our Five yearning tutors lay to rest.

I cleverly adorned my olive linen suit, sage jumper and stripy pea shirt knowing that the Glasgow Celtic were away to Inter Milan the day of our trip. Greeted at the airport by my fellow tutors dressed in full stormtrooper black, I felt a bit out of place until our Engineer arrived carrying her daughters bunny rabbit bag. Off we flew to discover that match tickets were still in abundance, to be frog marched to the San Siro. Trying to blend in with some lesser Ultra fans, we watched some football but in the main gawped at the enormity of the stadium while holding down our Engineer from hopping out her seat in admiration of Italian diagonal bracing.

Scale, structure and power set the backdrop for the first day as we paraded around Milan. Having sucked Italy of it’s wealth following the 1848 revolution, Milan has become it’s economic powerhouse leaving it’s outskirts littered with redundant industrial zones slowly being replaced with massive second rate edifice dedicated to a corporation or ego. The Porto Nuovo was the latest of these, a foul out of town cocktail of Cesar Pelli, Kohn Peterson Fox, Cino Zucchi and to my dismay Jan Ghel. A long standing fan of Hr. Ghel whose books I constantly reference, his urban space showed some of those ideas but tipped into aversion at those it did not. Urban landscape and agriculture offered some distraction via the tree balconied Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri and Agnes Denes’s proposed five acre wheatfield currently being ploughed and planted by local children.

The remainder of the day was spent strutting between Milanese historical gestures; we sashayed past the Pirelli Tower complete with helipad and swanned through the worlds first shopping mall, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II stuffed with bourgeois labels. A quick stride to the brutal Torre Velasca let us question it’s architectural plaudit, surely this can not be Isi Metstein’s favourite building! Grafton Architects‘ Luigi Bocconi Free University likewise seemed overtly imposing and de-humanised by it’s corporate hospitality. Not so the Duomo di Milano, the fifth largest church in the world, it’s spectacular roof forming the perfect take off to something higher. In amongst all this chest puffing, a sneaky wee Terrangi gem, the Casa Comolli Rustica, shone through to leave us wondering. While there was no mistake at how dire were the buildings of Post Modernist grandee Aldo Rossi which we found hard to look in the eye.

The second day we jumped on the bus to heartland Como and roused Dr Jonathon into lecture mode, he grabbed the mike and vented thought. Futurist poets, painters and architects delivered their manifesto; speed, bravado, style brought forth a strong independent Italy; a modern youthful architecture was born. The perfect example was Terrangi’s masterpiece, set in historic Como, the Casa del Fascio arose as a beautiful sublime object, to foster fascism and release stormtroopers to gently placate unbelievers. Como is home to a number of Terrangi’s works and birthplace to Futurist architect Saint’Ellia whose Citta Nuova faithfully inspired Terrangi’s Monument to the Fallen, perched on the lake edge. The similarities between the Italian Rationalists and other twentieth century movements was striking and belief in the new clearly shared irrelevant of political persuasion, until the Nazi book burning and intellectual extermination killed off creativity.

Concerned by but smitten with Terrangi, we climbed back on the bus and headed into Switzerland to take in the ouvre of Mario Botta. Earlier we had stopped by Aldo Rossi’s Gallaratese Housing, influential to Botta and Post Modernism in distilling the building to a series of urban metaphors; the corridor has become the street, the gathering place turned into the plaza, and peoples homes a mere after thought; generosity of useless hard public realm seems forever the architects dream. Our first look at Hr. Botta was more encouraging, the well thought out Morbio Inferiore School built early in his career was suffering a face lift but had much to offer. The remainder of his work was to become progressively flabby as from such very youthful start (he built his first house at 16) Botta aged from a fresh young Barolo into a gut retching Grappa, both of which we sampled in abundance around Lugano. Of particular techno colour yawn material was his yet again over scaled most recent transplant, Campari Towers. The day ended with a visit to Vittorio Gregotti land, a vast Po Mo re-development of the industrial Biocca Milenese quarter, where the one pill use of a solitary architect had made everything twice the size it should be. Gregotti’s fascinating cooling tower stuffed into a vast lego box of offices for yet again tyre-man Pirelli, with yet again standard issue helipad, offered limited consolation. The Po Mo student days of the Five tutors lay in shatters as we stared deep into it’s grave and headed into central Milan for some real Barolo and some seriously gut retching Grappa.

Starchitects filled our last day and never before had I been so happy to see an average Libeskin, a mediocre Hadid and a very long Fuksas. Dr Jonathan continued to hunt down Mussolini inspired fascist power in the form of bricks and mortar, he was not disappointed. Our final rendezvous was at Terragni’s Casa Rustica where we all admired, admittedly more the Five that the Fifty, a delicate piece of housing. Our real final rendezvous was in the Porta Garibaldi District where the Fifty Five took over the ‘Rock and Roll’ bar and disco and danced away the night to ‘Bella Lugosi is Dead’ accompanied by some aging local goths.

The power of the individual is ever evident in Milan, the perfect home to the fashionista and it’s culture of self. Our unnatural love of Terrangi’s buildings helped us understand how the many can be misled by the one. On leaving our hotel we reflected that it overlooked the Piazzale Loreto where the corpses of Benito Mussilini and his lover Petacci were hung upside down from a girder to be battered and spat on by the Milanese until they resembled the salamis in our suitcases.


Thanks to Peter Welsh, Third Year Director at Strathclyde School of Architecture for organising another great field trip. Special thanks to the Five for their company and more importantly the Fifty students who again were a pride to Glasgow and Strathclyde School of Architecture.