Contextual architecture has emerged – tied up in events, people and places. Happily, what we are seeing is that this open approach is yielding as equally useful outcomes and discussions as more structured ones.
Architect IPA by the Glasgow Institute of Architects
For me, this is when the main festival programme started. Combining a study of Scotland’s most popular architects with the brewing of a one-off ale, the project is about communicating our architecture in an informal setting. The packaging for the ale designed by Graphical House, is both an interpretation of the architects work as well as a biography of their achievements. The way the Architect IPA project has been presented, as the precursor to an informal discussion about architecture, set the tone nicely for the year.
Taktal’s Agile City Test Unit
A week long summer school programme in North Glasgow, with participants from a variety of design backgrounds and local community groups. The project combined a series of live builds with a wider lecture and education programme. The builds included a series of structures and installations, addressing the themes of Occupation, Context, Connection and Alternate Reality. What we saw was the groups could interpret wider cultural issues and speculate on approaches but still maintain a rigour despite the temporary nature of the project. Not a permanent solution but a direction for future proposals that may try to tackle the site.
The Pollokshields Playhouse Project
Set up on a derelict site around a year ago, the Playhouse has grown and adapted to the surrounding community. Local groups and organisations have come to use the space on both a regular and one-off basis. Project architect Baxendale worked with these groups to build up a suitable, low cost infrastructure on the site to reflect the needs of local groups and visiting activities. The thinking being that the groups and activities that are most popular and well used will demonstrate the need for the Playhouse and also the potential interest in a permanent local solution.
Although all of these projects are delivered on a temporary basis, they are able to provide a strong platform for responsive and discursive architecture – a contextual response. The scale and resources associated with such projects are key – allowing direct engagement within short timescales.
My feeling is that the spike in this type of project is likely due to the type of funding and resources available during a festival year. However, we need to view this type of work as a viable means for communicating and developing architecture alongside other more established methods.
CEO Architecture Creative Mentors Matt McKenna and Andy Campbell are co-founders of Dress for the Weather, which was established in 2009. Their process is informed by a study of place and an understanding of social factors to produce spaces which are beautifully equipped for their climate, culture, economy and place.