- M E D I A T H E Q U E with a sense of place - Mackintosh School of Architecture [Dip Arch 2005]
Beginnings of the project
I started out looking at the city of Glasgow today, studying how it worked and trying to understand where it was weak. I wanted to find a site which needed patching up or re-ordering and to find a programme which the city currently lacked, as well as one that may inspire a new type of space for the city.
On a city scale the masterplan looks to the clarity of Central Station for inspiration. It aims to create a sense of arrival for those travelling to the city centre by vehicle. Two large car park structures are proposed which 'plug' the motorway into the existing grid-iron city. One car park structure feeds into the George Square area and the other into the middle of Sauchiehall Street at the foot of Garnett Hill. It is this second area of arrival where I chose to locate the proposed mediatheque. The site sets up a 4 point framework with the Royal Concert Hall, George Square and Charring Cross areas. It acts not only as a gateway, but also as a marker for the cultural and educational buildings around Garnet Hill. The developed proposal is not reliant on the implementation of the masterplan, it just assumes the car park on the existing site would be relocated further north where it would have a clearer relationship with the motorway.
- An available place in the city
Potentially this would be the place in the city where people could gather to discuss anything that is on their minds. It is a place with opportunities to learn and express oneself. The place needs to have the ability to inspire and to tell new stories. Taking the programme of a main branch library, an art gallery and an audio visual centre, the mediatheque proposes a mixed bag in an effort to break down barriers. This place would act as a base in a time when information is becoming more and more sought after. It would be a place for media information, media technologies and could be connected to schools, social groups and even peoples own homes. People would need to see this place in the city as something that is available to them. The books cannot be hidden away, but instead placed on open shelves so the people can meet with them easily. The new media also needs to be presented in an open way to encourage interaction and experimentation. The art gallery is essential in the sense that it keeps a close eye on the information centre. The artist senses a new point of view and the audio visual centre reacts to it, or the media centre acquires a new way of doing something and the artist can react. The building wants to be a breath of fresh air and one that tells people about the city today. It wants to be a place where a child and old man alike can be inspired to ask questions. It wants to have a relationship with the main library, art school and city centre, and consequently finds itself on the variety street of Glasgow. How it meets people is important as there is a desire not to be overpowering or elitist. By sitting it on Sauchiehall Street it says "it's for everyone".
- Street Layer
The new upper ground layer which flows through the centre of the site is to do with place-making, arriving, greening and enlivening the connections with the rest of the city. It is concerned with movement and creating a new landscape for people to occupy. It connects back to the wild Scottish landscape via the planted corridors of the motorway, canal and railway.
The lower ground level which sets itself out to the gridiron is more concerned with stopping. Entry to the building is via this level, with the gallery over acting as a marker and canopy for the entrance. This entry level is a meeting place and is what unifies the three pieces (library, gallery and the audio visual centre) to form the entity known as mediatheque. 'Serving' walls rise up out of this plaza level to accept these three pieces.
LOWER GROUND LEVEL (Entrance Plaza)
2. Entrance plaza
3. General info
7. Library counter
8. Full height space to read the ‘tower of books’
9. Fiction drama & poetry
10. Low level garden
11. Newspapers & magazines
12. Main circulation along lane to the gallery and audio visual centre
13. Digital media street
14. Outdoor media space
15. Digital screens on Sauchiehall Street
16. Service entrance to basement level
UPPER GROUND LEVEL (Street)
17. New Place on Sauchiehall Street18. New layer of stones cutting through site19. Retail/public spaces relating to street level20. Visual connection to plaza level
TYPICAL UPPER LEVEL (Library, Gallery and Audio Visual Centre)
21. Open stacks of fiction, poetry & drama rising to roof top level22. Wall of non-fiction books23. Reading spaces24. Computer terminals25. Direct circulation for library26. Main circulation for audio visual center / gallery27. Gallery spaces28. Unpacking spaces for gallery29. Storage space for gallery30. Art and culture library31. Offices32. Multimedia library33. Office and studio spaces
A tower of books sits in one corner of the plaza, partially wrapped with 'serving' walls which protect it from direct sun light as well as from the activities on the plaza and adjacent streets. The library works vertically, thirty meter tall structural book shelves rise out of the ground, floors hang from these structural shelves and a stairs climbs up around the books to encourage people to meet with them. It is a place that is proud of its books and one that wants to tempt people to interact with them. There is a desire that the place where the books rest is not the brightest and when you find a book you like you can take it to the edge where there are seats and the light is beter for reading. The books reach up to the parapet level of Glasgow where they form the floor of a light filled reading room with views out over the city.
- TYPICAL LEVEL OF THE LIBRARY
A. Tower of books rising to roof top level. There are a variety of spaces formed in this steel and timber structure and the floor plates hang from the structure which is hidden in the corners of the book shelves. (See detail model below)B. Stairs climbing up around the tower of books.C. Void up through the building to light the lower levels, while also acting as a visual separation between the tower of books and the reading spaces which surround it.D. Wall of books and reading spaces on bath street.E. Reading spaces which overlook the new route trough the site.F. Main vertical circulation for library.G. Service ducts and supports for the roof.
The gallery is a place for the artist. It hangs proudly across the site supported by the 'serving' walls. It does not have the Library's concerns about the weight of the books. It has a certain freedom. It takes its prominent place over the entrance where it is always on view.
- Audio Visual Centre
The audio visual centre is a place that is home to various types of media. It will house a multimedia library, cinema, browsing lounge for Internet access, books on-line, studios, recording rooms, editing rooms, digital connections to places throughout the world and support for people as they learn and express themselves. To enter the audiovisual centre and gallery from the Plaza level you move up the stairs which aligns itself with the lanes of the gridiron. The stairs takes you out into the street space where you can read the 'pop-out' cubes of the audio visual centre. 'Serving' walls are placed at either side of the existing street and the main spaces are pulled out of these serving walls into/over the street space. The library and gallery are more concerned with framing a new place in the city, while the audio visual centre just wants to be on the existing streets. It’s a young arrangement.