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Spatial Weave

Part 1 Project 2014
Emma Blundell
Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture | UK
‘Spatial Weave’ is a tectonic proposal for a fashion and textile foundation in Merchant City, Glasgow. The design borrows lessons from both this context and the materiality of a textile weave. Based on the ordering principles of ‘WARP’ and ‘WEFT’, a structural framework of arches provides the setting against which people entwine, light filters, views are framed and atmosphere is fabricated. The nature of this interlacing structure, in which arches connect and loads are shared, reflects the grids of Glasgow’s urban condition.

The site, originally a bazaar and cornered by Ramshorn Kirk, has a rich heritage. Looking to such language of bazaars and cathedrals, the design respects and interprets a historical fabric of architecture. Borrowing contextual references from around Glasgow, such as the Neoclassicism of Alexander Greek Thompson, the Gothic Glasgow Cathedral, the masonry of the Glasgow School of Art and Victorian warehouses on the banks of the Clyde, historical references become translated for a contemporary setting. Brick slips wrap around a cast concrete frame, asserting a contemporary translation of traditional arch construction. The structure is revealed and concealed – dressed - much like the layers of space clothing forms around the human body.

The tectonic ambition of the project lies in the potential of construction methods as atmospheric devices. The foundation is grounded in tectonic tradition, context, and mass, but is ultimately orientated upwards; the skyward momentum of the arches emphasise the gravity of their construction. Like a viaduct, the design becomes ‘lighter’ as you move up. Light filters from the sky into the public spaces below, while the transparency of the arches themselves mean views loop through and inspire discovery. Light, architectural heritage, fashion and people become plaited in a contemporary spatial weave, offering a field of atmospheres. It is against the tectonic WARP of the arches that the WEFT of activity unfolds.

Emma Blundell


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