Garnethill park is a small, urban park situated in the North of Glasgow city centre. As part of an ongoing development in the area, Glasgow City Council approached GSA expressing their wish to collaborate on the regeneration of the park.
Teams of students consisting of three product design engineering and one architecture student were assigned a brief detailing the key problems in the park that had to be addressed. Each team was then asked to create a proposal for the park using a budget of £100,000 from Glasgow City Council. These proposals would be presented to the council and various stakeholders from within the community at the end of the project.
Visiting the park for the first time, there were some obvious signs of neglect and poor upkeep. Pictured here;
A large water feature that could not be maintained properly by the council due to budget and manpower restrictions.
Hidden areas where there had been problems of anti-social behaviour in the past, such as underneath an iconic pyramid structure.
Neglected light boxes designed by Dieter Magnus - the architect who designed the current layout of the park. While they no longer worked due to continuing vandalism, they were still popular among the community.
These three parts of the park were to be the key focuses for development as outlined by the council in the brief.
Surveying the surrounding area, we highlighted some institutions that we could attempt to involve in the parks development.
GLASGOW GOES GREEN EVENT
Community engagement made up a huge part of this project. One of the key activities that my group attended as part of this was the Glasgow Goes Green Festival - a student festival focusing on action on climate change.
We asked those in attendance a set of questions relating to the park, they would answer by writing their responses on pieces of green paper. The responses were then hung from a 6ft corrugated cardboard tree that we had constructerd - making up the leaves of the tree.
The festival was a huge success and provided vital feedback for the progression of the project. We also met a number of useful contacts that we could refer back to in later stages of the project.
Following on from the festival we defined a solid set of values that we wanted to project through any proposal for the park that we created.
ECO EDUCATION - the park had huge potential to be used as an outdoor education hub where people can learn to love and respect nature.
ENCOURAGING VISITORS - making the park an oasis of green within the concrete surroundings of Glasgow city centre could attract visitors and help naturally discourage anti-social behaviour.
COMMUNITY FOCUSED - there was a clear love for the park coming from those that lived surrounding it. We decided the community should be at the heart of the regeneration.
Various brainstorming techniques that we used to create our initial ideas. We categorised our initial ideas to create a proposal for three separate parks - one that embodied each of our three values. The idea was that we would draw from each park and combine the best ideas to create one wholistic proposal.
The final proposal for the park is shown here, split into the North and South sections of the park.
The plan above shows a number of key developments;
At the top left there is a new open entrance way, this makes use of the surrounding area of the park that receives the highest footfall. Thus making walking through the park a more convenient route than before which should hopefully increase visitor numbers.
On the right hand side of the park, a disused shelter has been converted into a community garden that also incorporates a seating area.
The pyramid, featured in the centre has been closed off at each side preventing people hiding away underneath the structure. Each side will be closed off with a different feature; on the north there will be an insect habitat integrated into the pyramid, while the east side will incorporate a kids climbing wall and the west will be filled with a stairway - allowing the top of the pyramid to be utilised as a viewpoint.
The Southern section of the park incorporates an altered pathway system that looks to increase footfall at certain areas of the park. The circular feature in the middle is an upraised platform that makes use of a previously empty space in the park - this is to be added in the hope that the community can stage events in this area.
On the whole, I believe the project was a great success. It was a huge learning experience in a number of ways, particularly in the importance of effective engagement with stakeholders. It proved difficult at times when attempting to find a suitable compromise between the needs and desires of the community and the restrictions imposed by the council. However, having a strong background of insights from all stakeholders provided the necessary, solid foundation for basing our design developments on.