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Weather, Water and Place: The Lower Kelvin, Glasgow

Part 2 Project 2013
Peter Harford-Cross
University of Strathclyde, UK
Glasgow is a city of weather and the elements. Weather systems from the Atlantic cross the flood plains to the South and break against the hills to the North. Northern winds bring snow and ice in winter. Although inland, the city is directly linked to the sea via the tidal Clyde estuary. This salt water meets fresh in the lower reach of the Clyde’s tributary: the River Kelvin

This final reach of the lower River from where it leaves Kelvingrove park and joins the Clyde offers a rich but neglected environment. The nature of the river changes from fast descending fluvial waters to intertidal and tidal zones at its mouth to the Clyde. The upper part has the qualities of a highland stream, passing between high gorge-like buildings and shaded by the steep banks of Yorkhill. Lower down, the space opens up to the South, before approaching the open windswept banks of the Clyde.

The area was heavily used for industry from the 17th Century, particularly from water driven mills. Since the retreat of this industry, the undeveloped wastelands along its banks have returned to an almost wild environment. Whereas the banks of the Kelvin to the North have been reclaimed and reused, forming the Kelvin walkway, this part offers no access to the riverbank.

By drawing on both its natural and man made features this project attempts to re-imagine the banks of the Kelvin as an area of activity serving the public and encouraging and celebrating the use of the outdoors. The final link of the Kelvin walkway is repaired allowing access to the river down to the Clyde. It also links the isolated Riverside Museum to the heart of the West End of Glasgow.

Peter Harford-Cross


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