Glasgow School of Art

Part of Urban Diagnosis:38 (Sabeya Ali)

6a. Urban Luminosity day to night transition


Light to darkness – Light has the ability to alter the urban realm and change our perceptions; it can trigger emotions, inform us and excite us.  Lighting has become an increasingly important aspect of today’s nocturnal cities.  By analysing the existing, challenging and critiquing new ideas, a concluding proposal was made for a light and darkness strategy of the route. The study began by looking at the multiple images of the city that are created the hour when the sun sets.  The subtle changes highlight and conceal different features and create different atmospheres. The existing lighting along the route was analysed through measuring and mapping the light levels at each bus stop on nights of various weather conditions.  This was then compared with an exercise where each team member marked out where they thought the brighter and darker areas existed.  This was mapped and varied from the actual results.  The experiment strongly ties into the idea that the eyes only make up 10% of the visual information while the brain makes up the other 90% to perceive things.

What if? This was an exercise of challenging new ideas of lighting the urban realm.

What if there was interactive lighting? Only the areas used being lit, bringing excitement to lighting, it is the people and how they use the space that becomes a spectacle at night.

SA 1 interactive lighting

SA billie jean light v2


What if the buildings lit the surroundings? The buildings and lighting could become integrated from the original design concept.

SA 5 lighting model noli


SA what if buildings lit2


What if voids were lit?  If parks were lit they could be used 24/7, however it would disturb the natural wildlife within at night.

Dotted Eyes template for OS MasterMap


SA park lightign


What if advertising played a more important role in urban luminosity?  It could become a distracting overlay of the city’s architecture, but if this was an overlay of a wall, for example, it could give it an alternative use at night.

SA tokoyo town


What if the M74 extension was lit?  Instead of lighting what are landmarks by day, what if the places of negative associations were lit to try and change people’s perceptions?  It could give the city a whole new identity at night.

SA m741


What if there was a canopy of lights along the streets creating an artificial sky?  This could enhance streets of special use.

what if


What if lighting and architecture was combined?  It could provide a cohesive way of lighting the urban realm.

Lighting model

Lighting model

Light and Darkness Scheme – ideas were combined and applied to different areas of the route to create a proposal of light and dark.  The new ideas were combined with old to create a whole cohesive picture of what the urban realm could be like at night.  With the select areas lit, the light against the dark backdrop creates a vibrancy.  Through the variety of urban luminosity, it creates interest and vitality throughout the urban realm at night.

6d. Urban Luminosity Light and Darkness Scheme



The next part of Urban Diagnosis:38 (Natalie Bennett)

Whilst a neighbourhood lies dormant in wait of its new built environment is it possible that it can reawaken sooner to evoke a new memory.  Using a temporary urbanity to write a pre history into people’s memories, initiating a new lease of life that leaves a legacy within the long awaited new masterplan.

Time has no limits.  Within all history and present in all future to come, any place within time is temporary.  When dealing with today and with urban environments, which continually evolve and are therefore consistently in a period of transition.  Temporary comes from a different scale of measure, a scale relative to human life.  For any of the local population born after the demise of Bridge Street will remember little more than what stands today. Temporary is also is relative to the time taken to roll out a masterplan from development strategy to completed building.  If the built form of the masterplan is the permanent urbanism then temporary urbanism is something that happens before and within the timescale of this phase in evolution in urbanism, in its wake a legacy can be left in the character, legibility and memory of place.

Fun Fair

Fun Fair

Site:  Bridge Street has been subject to the ‘two kinds of urban void,’ one from the nineteenth century infrastructure and areas of industry; another of the sprawling settlement of the post war era.  Neither of which have a recognisable role any more, left without identity having left so long that it has fallen into a sterile state.  As a result, the neighbourhood has been left with a limited role of significance within Glasgow, its only key activity being the transport interchange at the underground station linking with the 38 and other bus routes.  Neighbourhoods can take generations to establish, if the temporary urbanity is a temporary landmark acts as the pre start for the new leaving a legacy once its physical presence is no longer required.

Temporary Urban Towers

Temporary Urban Towers

The vision of situating tall land marks as a piece of temporary urbanity, plays on many ideas but primarily on building an identity and character of place that fore runs a new master plan. Inviting an activity to the area that lends to a new legibility, memory and legacy.  That the Naught-order should be imposed as a less obtrusive introduction to the first and second-orders delivering the final urban landscape.  The ambition is to create a comfortably familiar urbanism where no period of adjustment is required because it has and will continually evolve at a rate that makes it feel familiar.  Creates a cycle that is fed by the people and in turn the people by the place lifting the veil of governance revealing the authentic neighbourhood underneath.

BLOG Square

Part of the Urban Diagnosis:38 (Emily Anderson)

The Space Between discusses sensory perception in architecture in relation to voids and offers the way of distinguishing between different kinds of voids to clarify thinking in this somewhat neglected area of interest.

The study addresses the differences between negative space and void space and makes progress towards the definition of these differences. Radical propositions are made for the control and transformation of void spaces, healing the scars in the urban fabric.

Voids vary in character. Some are considered to be valuable, such as natural features like rivers and gorges, green lungs amongst the built form, and some are considered detrimental scars caused by demolition, dereliction and neglect.  Voids can be subcategorised into four types: natural voids, planned voids, transitional voids and scars.

ea natural voids ea transitional voids ea scars ea planned voids

Deconstructed Urbanism

Deconstructed Urbanism

Eglinton was chosen for consideration as part of the urban diagnosis because of its fragmentation.

The deconstruction of the area allows the perception of space and void to be made separate, filtering the different layers into buildings, roads, voids and scars. The different layers can be replaced with ‘treatments’, creating interventions addressing the issues of the urban space.

Interventions – spring from a desire to provoke a fresh view of the urban environment. By modelling and drawing fantastical ideas, the existing urban fabric can be instantly transformed with different proposals.

ea boulevards and enclaves ea grid repair and extend ea urban forest green thread

Urban Diagnosis

Urban Diagnosis:38 is the title of the masters project undertaken Sabeya Ali, Zuliana Alizan, Emily Anderson, Natalie Bennett and Farrah Jahangeer at the Glasgow School of Art.  The project is a critique of an urban area in Glasgow, challenging thoughts and perceptions.

Urban Diagnosis Introduction

The vehicle of analysis is the 38 bus which runs along a main arterial route.  The urban diagnosis explores a rich urban scenery that extends from the city centre to greater Glasgow’s suburban periphery.  Any line could be drawn through the city, investigated and probed for its urban makeup, however the 38 bus route has years of development and layers of history, it presents many forms of diverse urbanism, good and bad, that have formulated throughout time.

Urban Diagnosis Quick factsInstinctively nine different areas along the route were defined, each with their own distinctive characteristic.  These areas were identified through changes in density, building style, amenity, street activity, street edges, height, scale, bridges, natural boundaries, topography, transport infrastructure and cultural activity.

Urban Diagnosis progress

Through the initial analysis and film, inspiration was naturally driven towards specific topics, which were then investigated further; subjects include Scars and Aftermath, Temporary Urbanism, Urban Porosity, Soundscape and Urban Luminosity.

More to follow…


GSA Masters Group 38 Exhibition

Group 38 Exhibition, GSA.

Its the last day of 2011, I’ve returned home and I’ve been reflecting on one crazy year.

After finishing up with university I was worried about the current climate in the UK, thinking about unstable jobs, even worse, unemployment, but after this year, I’m thinking its not all doom and gloom if you use it to your advantage…it’s a chance to do different things and look outside the box. I have spent the year meeting many interesting people in the field, been to Toronto and had a chance to see great architecture, met a few starchitects, had time to visit and take part in exhibitions, completed my first book, graduated with masters, worked with 3DReid, spoke at a conference representing Glasgow School of Art, designed a small house in Pakistan, produced the drawings for a book with Robert Mantho from GSA, went to Beijing for an internship with Pansolution International, made connections with people from Tsinghua University and lastly I’ve started this blog which I’m really loving doing …not had a moments spare! I’ve earned a living while doing what I have chosen to and what I enjoy. I’ve had a variety of experience, which has kept the year interesting and exciting.

So to all the architecture students graduating in 2012 looking ahead and worrying, don’t, it will be ok, you just need to get up and go for it!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the year.


GSA Degree show party

GSA Degree Show Party – last with the Foulis & Newbery Tower buildings before new Steven Holl & JM architects addition.


Daniel Libeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

Graduation 3

Graduation, University of Glasgow.

with Zaha Hadid

Meeting with Zaha.

Glasgow Transport Museum

Opening of Zaha Hadid’s Transport Museum, Glasgow.

Glasgow Transport Museum 2

Opening of Zaha Hadid’s Transport Museum, Glasgow.

Velodrome Glasgow

3DReid construction site, Velodrome arena for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Hutong 2

Looking at hutong life, Beijing

Hutong 1

Looking at hutong life, Beijing

George Square

Glasgow’s George Square turned Philadelphia for Brad Pitt’s movie, World War Z.