This project focuses on the position of Glasgow’s former high-rise housing estates in the city’s landscape of memory, and how their interiors influenced behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Though they were viewed as a failed experiment by many, their impact describes changing ideologies towards housing conditions and living environments. Initial research involved engagement with archival oral histories gathered by the University of Glasgow, and the creation of a short film of archival footage to communicate accounts of daily life on the estates. My final output is a re-design of the interior of Bluevale Tower, formerly located in Gallowgate, as a co-living housing experiment that combines communal support with domesticity – principally informed by narratives of the past.

Domesticity Diagram

This diagram depicts some of my observations about domesticity and use of space in the tower blocks, as noted in the archive’s recordings. When the towers were designed, minimal thought was given to the needs of the average Scottish family and how they were used to utilizing their living spaces coming from a tenement flat setting. The Modernist architects prioritized utopian aesthetics popularized by Le Courbusier, including large verandas as an extension of the home to the exterior. The blue highlighted images depict spaces or spatial conditions that were often used differently than the original design intention.

Site Context Diagram

My selected site is one of the iconic former Gallowgate Towers that dominated the landscape of Glasgow for many years as they were for a time the tallest in Scotland. Built in the 1960s, they were alien to many of the city’s residents, but they were being marketed as “mansions in the sky,” with all the modern amenities and utilities that the dilapadated tenement houses were lacking. Though some were put off by their massive, unfamiliar scale, many were excited by the prospect and felt they were moving up in the world to be able to live there.

Pod Planning Diagram

In order to create an internal network for the cohousing scheme I decided to incorporate a pod system, which would connect three floors that share a community core. The community core contains a shared kitchen, dining table, and a hanging fabric installation that functions as an interactive exhibit of projected film that the residents can themselves contribute to.

Ground Floor Plan

The floor 0 plan contains the most support for family living, with large family flats opening up directly to the greenhouse corridor which could function as an informal creche as it once often did. But the greenhouse corridor will be enclosed, and wrap entirely around the community core to allow for children to weave in and out of the communal spaces for supervision.

Pod Section 01

Section 02

Greenhouse Corridor

The “greenhouse corridor,” inspired by the informal use of the long corridors in high rises as creches, would provide a safe and entertaining space for children to play while being overseen by their caretakers or other members of the pod community. It also intersects the communal kitchen, giving children a place to play while still being close enough to be supervised.

Communal Kitchen

In addition to the residents’ own kitchenettes (in order to maintain a degree of privacy should they choose to do so), the communal kitchen offers a space for community members to share meals, divide cooking responsibilities, and bond as neighbors. The space opens up to the greenhouse corridor to supervise children at play or to participate in urban farming.

Communal Dining

The communal dining room is at the heart of the 3-storey pod, where the kitchen and living spaces are connected and meals can be shared en masse. In addition, it is home to a hanging fabric projected film installation that residents can contribute to and engage with.

Laundry Room

The laundry room is a place where a normally menial domestic task can become more socially engaging and supportive. The laundry rooms were formerly located at parts of the building that weren’t easy to access, and drying facilities were limited. It put strain on families to perform this chore, so to make it more accessible it is located just off the community core and contains a small lounge for socialization and places to hang up clothing to dry.