In March this year, the nominees of the Hunter Douglas awards were announced; out of the 186 graduation projects submitted, the jury of the Archiprix International selected eighteen. The closing activities are held in Glasgow (Scotland) from 18th June till the 24th. ArchiNed is embedded and will give regular updates.
23rd june opening at The Lighthouse
After the final presentation all the material and proposals gathered by the groups in an intensive week of work and discussion had to be moved to The Lighthouse. There a modest room was available to exhibit the results of the workshop. Although the space looked like junkyard only one hour before opening, everything was finished in time. However small the available space, every group still managed to bring forward the best of their ideas.
The opening of the exhibition of the workshiop results and of the nominees for the Archiprix 2005 Award was a great success. Each of the five floors of the Lighthouse was filled up with buzzing visitors. All participants and group leaders of the workshops were proud of their result. It would be nice if at least some of the ideas that were produced at the workshops would stick in the minds of the Glasgow hotshots.
The next day attention was fully focused on the nominees and winners of the Archiprix Awards. For that see the Archiprix website.
22nd June evening
At the end of the day the projects are presented. It seems the workshop tutors are more nervous than the participants themselves. Some hotshots, including people from the Glasgow municipality are present. During the final presentations it seems that out of the blue all kinds of inspiring ideas have come up and have been welded into coherent wholes.
Nobody tried to come up with some sort of an overall master plan for the river area. Instead the river was looked at from several new angles and surprising points of view. This opening up of new views on the river is probably the best and most sensible contribution a workshop such as this can give to the hosting city.
Several groups looked at the many industrial relicts along the riverbanks and proposed all kinds of re-use possibilities. To many workshop participants these relicts are the real cultural heritage of Glasgow. Especially all the abandoned harbour cranes seemed to trigger the imagination and many alterative ways to re-use them came up: complete hotels could be suspended from them, parts could be used as footbridges or as suspension pylons for alternative transport systems.
Likewise the That Useless River group collected a series of characteristics, occupants (not only humans) and forms along the river and proposed modest interventions (presented on picture postcards) on the basis of this collection.
One of the interesting ideas that came out of the Glasgow Lobbyism group was the proposal for a floating hotel consisting of individual private capsules, a sort of a mobile hotel organism of capsules flocking together or drifting apart. The riverbanks and abandoned factories could be transformed into lobbies and restaurant for this hotel.
Two groups looked at the river from a somewhat greater distance. Cloud Planuing looked for a strategy to turn the problem around and to see the river in a totally new happy and refreshing light. They will build a big installation at the Lighthouse, consisting of layered stacks of river contour fragments. Together they will make up a walkthrough 3D space, an experience of the river space that might be an inspiring alternative for the usual 2D way in which we look at rivers.
Folding Water didnt look at the river itself, but more at the stuff the river is made of: water. One of their proposals was a puddle policy in which the start of the river (which is the rain falling down on the city) is made explicit and the drainage to the river made visible in the city itself. If you cant bring the people to the river, you must bring the river to the people. By focussing on the water instead of the river, on the characteristics of water like rippling, mirroring and light reflection, and by stressing the need for water purification on the spot.
22nd June – Tension building up, not only on the third floor of the Bourdon Building (Glasgow School of Art) where New Order is blurring out of a computer and the images of a concert are projected against a wall. In the Lighthouse people are working hard to finish the ArchiPrix International exhibition on time, it will show all the nominated graduation projects. Some moment yesterday a little bit of panic broke out. The building of the main exhibition structure was only very slowly progressing. Luckily they manage to find a tin of builders, pull it open and flew a super builder in from London. No doubt they finish in time for the opening on Thursday night.
In another room are wooden pallets pilled up, waiting to be used as structure for the exhibition Archiprix International Workshop. And in a third room, Henk van Veen (Archiprix) and Marcel (Antenna Men) are doing all kinds of important things, having lots of meetings and updating the Archiprix website.
Almost at the same time in the Bourdon Building. The workshop leaders are, friendly but firm, pushing the participants. Only to be able to work until 11.00 p.m. last night, the time the school closes, there is still a lot of work to be done. At five this afternoon all groups will present the outcome of their workshop.
At times some of the workshop leaders seem tenser than the workshoppers themselves. Let’s be honest, the outcome does count, even if all stretched in the beginning of the week that it’s not about the product but about the process. They will be judged on the outcome. Workshopping is more than serious fun for them.
21st June – First day of the summer but not in Glasgow, it’s drizzling, windy and about 18 degrees. Today the groups started to materialize their concepts. Needless to say, this let too many discussions.
Clyde Rebuild are working as one team at one design. Main purpose is to connect both sides of the city with each other. Therefore they divide the water in longitude into two, one deep part and one not so deep part. In the deep part is for water taxis ‘or thing like that’. In the not so deep part, which will be under the water surface, there will be infrastructure like a motorway or subway.
The Cloud Planning group is placing layers above the river. But because they couldn’t agree on the shape the clouds should have and the nature of the clouds, they decided to all make their own clouds and in the end put it into one installation.
The Plimsoll Liners are also working on their own thing and will put it together in one big chart which will be a mix of photo-shopping sketches etc.
Glasgow Lobbyism is working in small groups on different aspects of their proposal. One sub group is concentrating on the cranes, the other on the bridges and yet another group is going for the Loch Ness-Bilbao-effect, just one big thing that will attract people from al over the world.
Folding Water formulated five parameters: FORM, POWER, RAIN, GEOLOGY, PURIFY. Each one of them will be looked into by a small team. In the end all surveys will be put together in a photo and video presentation.
The morning started for That Useless River with a tour around a ‘yuppie apartment block’ facing the river. They found out that there is almost no planning regulation along the river Clyde. The developer could build everything as long as it didn’t get to high. The building ended up with twelve floors.
That Useless River group must place themselves in the year 2070 on a vacation in Glasgow. What picture will be on the postcard they are sending to their little sister?
PS In the end of the day, the summer also started in Glasgow.
20th June With only a few days to go, all groups are working really hard to meet the deadline. On Wednesday evening there will be the final presentations of the workshops. On Thursday they have to produce an exhibition about their results in The Lighthouse. The exhibition opens on Friday 24th and can be visited until August 7th.
The Plimsoll Line group went up to the river to talk to a pilot and learn everything about the tide and current in the Clyde. Folding Water brought the river to the Glasgow School of Art were the workshops are being held. Very handy in a plastic bag: Portable Clyde. That Useless River is deep into model making. Its only the second day and the models already look very serious. The group of Clyde Rebuild seems to be planning their design in secret, but they do exist. Glasgow Lobbyism takes a different strategy. Splitting up in small groups they work towards one goal, to turn the whole embankment into one big urban lobby. The Cloud Planning group is taking the task really serious. Yesterday evening they kept on talking, talking and talking until late in the Frankenstein bar. This morning they came to the workshop with clouds in their heads, what resulted in deep thoughts.
19 June The day started with a short presentation of the workshop themes by the workshop leaders. David Zahle (Glasgow Lobbyism) started his introduction that his group will do something site specific in a rather old school fashion. How can private investments intensify the relation between the waterfront and the city? How can an urban private space, like a hotel lobby, turn the waterfront (public space) into a semi public space? Sam Jacob’s That Useless River– group will look for justifications for keeping the river. What use can the Clyde have in the future? Craig Dykers workshop, Folding Water, will look at the river not in the way the home improvement shows on television do. Its not about bringing the city to the river but bringing the river to the city. Alex van de Belds workshop is titled Cloud Planning. To quote the introduction on the Archiprix website: The impossibility of planning clouds leads directly towards an urban approach which opens up for the unexpected and the surprise. Adrian Stuart’s group, Plimsoll Line, will look into the possibilities of new functions for the old cranes that are still lined up on the embankment, baring in mind the physical link the cranes form between the river and the city. Clyde Rebuild with workshop leader Charlie Sutherland is also looking for a new use of the river Clyde, thinking of it as a new piece of infrastructure, as hardware and software at the same time.
After the talks the first working day for the participants started. Getting to know each other, in case it didnt happen last night when many explored the Glasgow nightlife. Trying to overcome the language barriers. Most groups started with a stroll around town and following the river. Folding Water: We walked, we talked and did some thinking. Clyde Rebuild walked and talked. The Plimsoll Line had to draw up a list of things they normally do on an average Saturday and locate these activities along the Clyde and Useless River started making a model after their walk. Only Shaping clouds stayed indoors, talking, talking, and talking. Allegedly they were told to keep on talking till they are going to bed! At the end of the first day all participants were quite convinced that the workshop they had chosen was the best.
18 June – Today all participants and workshop leaders were introduced with the river Clyde, the subject of study for the next four days. The workshop participants were shown the Oscar winning film Seawards the great ships, a film released in 1961. The documentary shows steel, fire, and honest, hard working people. A homage to men and what he achieve with head and bare hands. Twenty men worked for nine month to design his ship, after which more than thousand men build it in a few years time. The outcome: a ship of the finest quality which will sail the seas all over the world.
That was forty years ago. In the end of the sixties, start of the seventies, the shipbuilding industries left Glasgow.
A boat trip along the river Clyde in western direction brought some workshop participants in a small depression. The dockyards that are still there seem deserted. The banks are fallen into decay, plots are empty. Only here and there, and what seems quite arbitrary, there are some developments, attempts to transform the banks of the river Clyde into a clean and safe environment with luxurious apartment buildings, a museum, a shopping mall, a indoor ski sloop, a concert hall. But why there and for whom? Even the pigeons seem to have left Glasgow somebody remarked when we passed the monumental cast iron railway bridge.
Among the activities taking place are the workshops organised by The Lighthouse, Scotland’s centre for architecture, design and the city and Archiprix International. All the participant of the Archiprix Internation 2005 edition were invited to participate, more than 70 made the trip to Glasgow. For five days the newly architects together with workshop leaders Alex van de Beld (Onix, Groningen), David Zahle (Plot, Copenhagen), Craig Dykers (Snohetta, Oslo), Sam Jacob (FAT, London), Adrian Stewart (Chris Stewart Architects, Glasgow) en Charlie Sutherland (Sutherland Hussey architects, Edinburgh) will make proposals to regenerate the banks of the river Clyde, which flows through Glasgow. Each group is given a site and a theme. The results will be on show in The Lighthouse from 24th June till 7th August. On the 24th, after a day of lectures and talks, the winners of the Hunter Douglas awards will be presented, followed traditionally by a reception, and a dinner for invited guest.