When I had time to do City Strolls, visiting the Glasgow bracken was a favourite. Unfortunately we do not have the same respect and love of the bracken as the Berliner. The 70s adventure playgrounds, environments and happenings, pop up theatres, had its time in the city. But big brother council and its ubiquitous red glaze soon covered up the bracken and sanitise the land long before it was needed for development parcels. I was never surprised that each time we did a talk on Scotland’s Common Good Fund, at the Electron Club or elsewhere, at least one Berliner would turn up for each occasion. And very impressed they were, that our Common Good Fund existed, along with its uniqueness. I guess it would take a Berliner, to appreciate, who still have the sense and scope of what the brachen and the commons represents and has to offer.
We also had our own Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord potential, but the Philistines-that-be down at the council, could not wait to be rid of ever last remanent of our innovative, industrial and engineering past in order to swathe the landscape in concrete boxes. Who knows to what mental damage the cleansing, both social and environmental of the city has done to its citizens. Soon there will be no place to be lost in, to find, to imagine. No nooks and crannies to offer respite from the bland. No city strolls because there will be no place to go or discover only generic landscape.
Another industrial eyesore removed from the historical conscience
The antiques warehouse that used to sit on the waterfront giving a bit of diversity of why folk would be attracted to the river side. Burnt to a cinder over a weekend. No doubt to be replaced by more sterile blocks of flats. Eyesores to the gentrifiers, or should we say cultural colonisers, is anything that might sit at a funny angle, never mind architectural or historical significance, to the grid mentality that builds, not so much flats, but rather, sells investment in cubic meters of walled concrete.[expand title=”trigger more text”]
If we didn’t have the shipyard museum in Govan, and the one lonely column, that stands outside the supermarket in Springburn, what would we have? Where is our industrial heritage? What was once the site of the engineer works that built and exported steam engines all over the world. (25% global market share) Only one single pole remains there, one stanchion from the Hyde Park Works in central Springburn, is what Springburn has physically to represent the industry sweat and labour of its steam engine building past. What an embarrassment. Maybe the city planners should sneak in of a night time and remove it, or it may internally combust on its own, if neglected long enough. With this kind of disregard towards our industrial architecture, it should be no surprise that another remnant of our industrial past is bulldozed after going up in flames…
“Glasgow continues to maintain its reputation as the city in which historic buildings “go on fire”, the latest victim of ‘spontaneous combustion being Scotway House in Partick, close to the river Clyde.
A large two-storey pile of polychromatic brick and sandstone, it was designed by Bruce & May and built as offices for the shipbuilders and engineers, David & William Henderson & Co. Many of the record-breaking yachts built in the Meadowside Shipyard were designed in the building, which was listed at Category B. Empty and derelict, however, it had long been on the Buildings at Risk register for Scotland.
With the decline of shipbuilding, Scotway House found itself isolated on cleared ground between the new Riverside Museum – that absurd, impractical shed designed by the late Zaha Hadid – and the new Glasgow Harbour flats. It was first proposed for demolition in 2002. Three years later, the Glasgow Harbour developers proposed re-erecting it on another site as a restaurant. In 2011 it was proposed to restore it as a rock ‘n’ roll hall of lame. Last year it was proposed to convert it into a bar and restaurant next to a planned complex of student flats. All in vain. Last January part of the roof was damaged by fire, and last month the whole building was gutted by a far worse fire. It now stands as a roofless shell, and no doubt what is left will soon be (is being) cleared away for development.” Piloty Private Eye.
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Andy Wightman Some Thing Is Missing interview
Ian McHarg died this day in 2001 (NY Times obituary). He was a Scottish landscape architect who made his name in the University of Pennsylvania where he founded the world famous Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning in1955.
He was born in Clydebank in 1920 and (for those with an interest in the history of mountaineering in Scotland), was one of the Craigallian Fire men.
Arguably his most famous legacy is his 1969 book, Design with Nature. One of his pupils and collaborators in the project was the Scottish landscape architect, Mark Turnbull, who is still practising in Scotland today. His book sat on the shelves of my Dad’s study when I was growing up. He was an architect and, as a student, I thought it would make an interesting contribution to the forestry course I was doing at Aberdeen University. However, so dismal was the outlook of the staff there (there were a few honourable exceptions), that the notion of even reading such a book was regarded as too radical. I read it though and recommend it to anyone with an interest in environmental and spatial planning (McHarg invented the sieve mapping technique now standard in GIS – the European Geosciences Union awards a medal in his honour).
Keep reading article Ian McHarg 1920-2001 Scottish landscape architect Design with nature