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Perceptions of Cumbernauld

Part 2 Dissertation 2012
Ami Skimming
Mackintosh School of Architecture, UK
Cumbernauld New Town, love it or hate it, everyone seems to have an opinion on it. Cumbernauld, in its heyday 1970, had been tipped as the ‘Town for the Future.’ Now that the future has arrived, the experimental decisions made by the Development corporation are being called into question with recent media attention, propelling Cumbernauld’s architectural debate, behind a political backdrop, into the living rooms of almost every household in the UK.

Unfortunately, the voices of those who shout slanderously loud enough are taken by the misinformed as absolute and Cumbernauld’s infamy continues to shudder throughout the town like the aftermath of a quake, whilst the implications of the debate are largely ignored. However, there is a general understanding at least amongst its inhabitants that the town needs for their integrity and self respect to be restored.

Cumbernauld’s bibliography embodies polarisations between architectural statements and restraint, mega-structure and picturesque, love and hate. My own situation in a way represents two sides to Cumbernauld’s debate; as a former resident of the town I empathise with the people who live there and as an architecture student I can take an informed an neutral view of the outsider looking in. The intention of this study is to reveal both sides of the argument and cast the focus on what lies at the heart of Cumbernauld’s ‘Carbuncle’ image.

Ami Skimming

Florian Urban
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