My first built project is emerging from the mud of the Queen’s Park allotments. It could well also be my first application to the Macallan Club, but its significance is no less important to me.
There’s an apartment complex in Northern Ireland to which I made some modest design contributions as a part one architect some years ago. It’s going to be completed later this year, and I caught an unexpected glimpse of it from a moving train a couple of months ago. That was probably the first time that I – as a young semi-legal architect – had come face to face with something I had had my hand in, albeit from a distance and not actually showing much of my work.
This is different, however, and building it has been an education. There have been some arguments (with nails, luckily, not my long suffering co-constructor) and there are some notable problems (notably that it is six inches too close to the adjacent path). We’re a couple more days away from finishing it; at the moment only three sides are approaching what you might call a state of functional enclosure. With the exception of the nuts, bolts, screws and nails, all of the material is reclaimed, some from Glasgow Wood Recycling, other bits and pieces from Freecycle and the heavily littered streets of Glasgow. The material cost has, in fact, been minimal; the small budget has mostly been spent on those small pieces of ironmongery and transportation.
My dream car used to be a modest second hand Saab or Capri; something unreliable and extravagant. Now I have a hankering for a Vivaro or Transit panel van. Much more useful.
As Britain continues its apparently unstoppable plunge into a recession, my advice to unemployed graduates like myself has been to keep busy and to keep physically active. In other words, get an allotment. The hours up there just fly by. For unemployed architects (especially young ‘uns like myself with no built credits to there name) consider an allotment without a shed. It’s been an unexpected opportunity to call upon the plentiful resources of free material in this city, and has produced something that I’m already beginning to identify as having direct (if not conscious) influences from buildings and design I’ve seen and absorbed over the last few years.
A direct hit to the part of my nerdy heart that loves old sixties tower blocks. Presumably part of either the Western Infirmary or the University of Glasgow, seen from the steps of the Glasgow Museum of Transport.
Having spent much of the last seven years in a twenty storey steel and glass tower block with completely orthogonal façades that are the same regardless of the orientation, I’m intrigued by the pattern of windows to cladding here, and what appears to be the half landings of a stairwell in the middle of the main block.
A noisy afternoon in the studio. The sound of hacking and chiselling of concrete and plaster filled the room during a meeting earlier today, with a kind of physical weight and loudness that suggested something more than the usual source of noise around here (architecture students hacking something apart for a model).
Two workmen had come to fix a broken window on the south facade of the building. A crack had appeared in the single pain of the opening window a couple of months ago, causing some concern. A maintenance log was filed, and finally time and resources had been found to remove the broken window and replace it.
This being on the seventeenth floor, it was understandable it had taken some time to fix.
Not a job I plan to be applying for with my new found qualifications.