Influential Scottish Architect Andy MacMillan Dies Aged 85

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Professor Andy MacMillan, one of Scotland‘s most important post-war architects, died suddenly this weekend during this year’s Royal Incorporation of Architects in (RIAS) Andrew Doolan Awards visits. Macmillan was a professor at the Glasgow School of Art from 1973 to 1994, and a partner at Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1966. More on MacMillan’s legacy after the break.

Review: MacMag39, Mackintosh School of Architecture

Courtesy of MagMag39

MagMag, a student-edited compendium of essays, projects and ideas from ’s Mackintosh School of Architecture, is now in its 39th edition. Following on from what has so far been a momentous year for the Mac, in which they’ve seen Steven Holl Architects’ new Seona Reid Building formally open and parts of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s art school (along with a great deal of student work) devastated in a fire, MacMag39 is a celebration of the spirit of a school which is faced with a challenging question: how do they introduce and then reconcile the new alongside the existing against the backdrop of an academically rich, diverse and successful learning environment?

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Workload Forecasts Are Firmly In Positive Territory

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the ”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.

Photographic Archive Crowdsources Your Memories of The Mac

The School of Art Library in 1976. Image © Gordon Hawes Via The Mac Photographic Archive

The interior of Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s Glasgow School of Art is, thankfully, being restored after being tragically damaged by fire last month. However, despite Scottish Fire and Rescue managing to save around 70% of the building’s precious contents, many will likely struggle to get over the feeling that something is missing without the natural patina of 100 years of use.

In response to this feeling, GSA Alumnus Lizzie Malcolm and Daniel Powers have created The Mac Photographic Archive, a website that allows anyone to upload photographs of the building and tag them with the room they depict and the date they were taken – compiling the ultimate collection of memories of the building’s proud history. Click here to look through the archive, and contribute your own images to the collection.

RIAS Announces this Year’s 13 Best Scottish Buildings

The Inn at John O’Groats / GLM. Image © Pip Rustage

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in (RIAS) have announced the winners of the 2014 Awards. Selected from the 83 entries, these buildings represent the best in Scottish architecture from the past year. This year Glasgow buildings make up significant number of the 13 winners, demonstrating the positive results of the city gearing up to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games later this summer.

The RIAS Awards are held in parallel with the RIBA National Awards, with submitted projects eligible for both. This year, 4 RIAS Award winners were also RIBA National Award winners. See the full list of winners after the break.

Scottish Charity Aims to Resurrect Brutalist Icon

© Flickr CC User Stuart Caie

The Scottish arts charity NVA is looking for an architect to carry out the restoration of St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1966. The building is an icon of post war brutalism; the Grade-A listed structure was voted as the best modern building in Scotland by readers of Prospect Magazine in 2005, and is likely to feature heavily in Scotland’s show at the 2014 Venice Biennale. However despite this adoration, the building had a very short functional life and has been in a state of ruin ever since it was abandoned in the 1980s.

NVA is looking for an architect “highly skilled in the conservation of modernist buildings” to take on the £8 million restoration, which will see the sanctuary and refectory preserved in a “semi-ruinous state”, and a nearby 19th-century greenhouse converted into a visitor centre.

Read on after the break for more on the restoration

Reiach and Hall to Represent Scotland at Venice Architecture Biennale

The controversy around Glasgow’s Red Road is one of the subjects that is crucial to Scottish Modernism. Image © Amanda Vincent-Rous

The Edinburgh-based firm Reiach and Hall will be representing Scotland at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. The show will showcase ’s rich modernist heritage, featuring buildings such as Gillespie, Kidd & Coia’s St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross and the church designs of Reiach and Hall’s founder Alan Reiach, focusing on the positive aspects of these buildings which are often seen negatively by the Scottish public. “Certainly buildings from that period get a difficult press – the stories about the Red Road flats and so on don’t really help that – but we hope to explain and examine the real optimism of that period” said Neil Gillespie, Director of Reiach and Hall.

Scotland’s contribution at the biennale will be based in the UK pavilion for a month-long residency, as well as a show and presentations at other locations around Venice.

RIBA’s Future Trends Survey Reveals Small Drop in March

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The Royal Institute of British Architects‘ (RIBA) latest Future Trends Survey indicates a small drop from February’s index, “down to +35 from its all-time high of +41.” Despite this, “confidence levels about an improvement in future workloads for architects remain very solid.” All types of practice size, ranging from those with fewer than 10 employees to those with over 50 staff, are “reporting positive balance figures.” The strongest future workload forecasts came from Scotland and the North of England, suggesting that “the recovery in confidence levels is now widespread across the and has spread beyond London and the South East.”

Glasgow Scraps Plan for Europe’s Largest Demolition

© Amanda Vincent-Rous

UPDATE: The Guardian reports that the plans to demolish the Red Road Flats during the have been scrapped due to concerns over public safety. The following news was originally published as “Glasgow to Demolish Iconic Modern Towers in Europe’s Largest Demolition” on April 10th, 2014.

To mark the arrival of the Commonwealth Games in July, Glasgow is planning a twist on the usual opening ceremony: the customary fireworks are going to be replaced with explosives of an altogether different kind, as the demolition of all but one of the remaining Red Road Flats buildings will be broadcast live into the stadium.

The demolition of the five 30-story buildings will take 15 seconds and will be the largest ever attempted in Europe, according to the organizers. According to Games Organizer Eileen Gallagher, including the demolition as part of the opening ceremony shows that Glasgow is “a city that is proud of its history but doesn’t stand still, a city that is constantly regenerating, renewing and re-inventing itself.”

Could Mobile Technology Help Us Define “Good” Architecture?

Courtesy of gizmodo.com

Architecture researchers in have completed a breakthrough study on brain activity recorded in situ by using mobile electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which records live neural impressions of subjects moving through a city. Excitingly, this technology could help us define how different urban environments affect us, a discovery that could have provocative implications for architecture. Read the full story on Salon. Also, check out this article from Fast Company about how a similar mobile technology could show us the effects of – not on our brains, but on our bodies. 

Kengo Kuma’s V&A at Dundee Granted Planning Permission

© & Associates

After a slight redesign scaled the building’s stone facade back from the waters edge to reduce construction costs, Kengo Kuma & Associates has been granted planning permission from the city council’s development management committee to construct the V&A at . The “world-class,” competition-winning proposal will be the first V&A museum constructed outside of London, serving as an international center of design for all of Scotland.

Zaha Hadid Wins European Museum of the Year Award for Riverside

Riverside Museum / ZHA © McAteer Photograph/Alan McAteer

Riverside Museum in , Scotland, has won the prestigious European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) for it’s ability to “demonstrate brilliantly how a specialist transport collection can renew its relevance through active engagement with the wider social and universal issues.”

Out of 40 museums from across 21 European countries, the jury agreed unanimously that ZHA’s Riverside Museum fulfilled the EMYA criteria of ‘public quality’ at the highest level. 

Speirs Locks Student Campus Proposal / Stallan-Brand

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The proposal for the Speirs Locks Student Campus masterplan by Stallan-Brand seeks to integrate existing structures of merit and to introduce new public spaces around them. The retention of an old glue factory as a gallery and historic walls capture the site’s industrial past. The retention of an existing ornate brick wall, once the ground floor of the City Council Cleansing Department, is used to define a new public space, creating a unique arrival and provide the adjacent studio spaces with an appropriate external display space. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Glasgow Theatre Redesign Winning Proposal / Bennetts Associates

© Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Bennetts Associates, one of the ’s leading architectural practices, was just selected by the Citizens Theatre to work on the plans for a major redevelopment of its iconic Gorbals home. This will be the most comprehensive redevelopment of the building since it opened as a theatre in 1878. The planned capital project will transform the building creating a new vision for improved rehearsal, administration and learning accommodation, as well as improved facilities for the public. More images and architects‘ description after the break.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Aberdeen Garden City Proposal Nixed

Courtesy of DS + R

After winning the Aberdeen City Garden competition in early 2012, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro‘s ‘Granite Web’ design was rejected over the summer in a 22-20 city council vote for being overly expensive. Despite public approval the proposal, which totaled a whopping £140m, was rejected in favor of a collection of more fiscally responsible city projects, such as refurbishing the Aberdeen Art Gallery and redeveloping the site of the St. Nicholas House.

Just recently, the City of Aberdeen announced a £300m city-wide plan of improving roads, schools and buildings, with only £20m allotted for the city center, which will be pedestrianized but not much else. Thus, confirming the “final nail in the coffin“ for DS+R’s ambitious web of lush gardens and cultural landmarks.

Read more after the break…

George Square Controversy

George Square Competition Entry / John McAslan + Partners

There has been some controversy over the past few months for the George Square redesign in , , since we last announced the six shortlisted architecture firms in December.  Following the submission and assessment by a jury in January, the project went through an upheaval when Labour leader of the Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson announced that the submitted designs would be scrapped in favor of a “facelift” for the square.  Numerous reports on the Herald Scotland present conflicting arguments for the turn of events and the abrupt change in plans have left the council, jury, design firms and the public in discontent.  It is unclear what the status of the project is today, but for the moment it is on hold as the council discusses ways in which to proceed.

Follow us after the break for more.

George Square Redevelopment: Six Firms Shortlisted

Courtesy of www.theglaswegian.co.

Six firms, Agence Ter (France), Burns + Nice (UK), Gustafson Porter (UK), James Corner Field Operations (USA), jmarchitects (UK), and John McAslan & Partners (UK), were recently shortlisted in the project for a major redevelopment of George Square in the heart of Glasgow, . The 13 statues and monuments that stand in the square are to be moved to other sites in the city while the area is given a makeover ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Planned to submit their plans by the new year, the six designs submitted to Glasgow City Council will be put on public display at the Lighthouse in early January. The design competition winner will then have the prestigious task of redeveloping the square to further enhance Glasgow’s reputation as an international city.

OMA’s Maggie’s Gartnavel wins 2012 Doolin prize

© Nick Turner

The RIAS (Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland) has announced OMA as the tenth recipient of the prestigious Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for the firm’s “welcoming, light and spacious” design of Maggie’s Gartnavel in .

Serving as an exemplar for alternative healthcare design, OMA’s single story composition for the cancer care center laces together a series of interlocking rectangular spaces that form around a lush courtyard. Transparent walls of the building’s light-filled interior promenade connect patients directly to nature, as the building accommodates for the complex needs of the facility by providing spaces of interaction, personal privacy, and discrete counseling rooms, along with private nooks and corners. A notable characteristic of Maggie’s Gartnavel is the rich use of materials, from the flush inlaid timber and concrete ceiling to the simplistic concrete exterior and expansive floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

OMA generously donated their £25,000 prize to the Maggie’s Cancer Care Center.

More images after the break…