The Seed Bank Project
2018-19 // GSA
The Seed Bank Project is a series of spaces, which create an interface between the public and private domain through a physical conversation of space and an overlapping of typologies; all of which embody and seek to communicate the principles of ecology, conservation and sustainability through the act of archiving and storing.
The centre is built around the conservation of gymnosperms (seed-producing) plant species, specifically those indigenous to the UK and more specifically Scotland. A seed bank is typically a publicly funded private space - a series of highly specialised laboratories and storage facilities which are subterranean, out of sight and out of mind. However for its primary objective of conservation and preservation to be sustainable, and ultimately
successful, such a space needs to be transparent so the public understands the importance of conservation
The site for my project is located in the Finnieston area of Glasgow, situated on the north bank of the River Clyde between the city’s West End and the city centre.
Defined as three separate spaces, a railway vent and two blocks of 4 garage units, the site is central, accessible via two lanes off Argyle and Corunna street, but simultaneously retains an element of anonymity and ‘out of the way-ness’.
The nature and current state of ‘limbo’ the three spaces find themselves in provided the perfect opportunity to work outside the realms of a traditional building and to repurpose and re-engage interest in a forgotten space - the primary aims at the start of my project.
The existing interior planning of the units is very uniform, subdivided by three red brick masonry walls. A pitched skylight caps each unit, however, these are currently roofed in corrugated metal allowing no
natural light to filtre into the space.
The garages functioned as storage units and workshops to service the shops on the ground floor of the adjoining tenement block.
Their construction date is unknown, but is estimated as 1866, which assumes they were built at the same time as the tenements. Unlike the vent the garages have been in functional use ever since their construction, only recently falling into disuse.
The garages continue the heavy victorian style of the tenements behind; using the same blond sandstone and cast-iron detailing. Both units are defined by 5m high sandstone walls, breached eight times along the facade by 4m openings, between 5m and 6m wide. However, none of the existing door entries remain. Three have been blocked up, two using contrasting small red brick in a flemish bond and the other panelled with corrugated metal. Two have been partially blocked up by concrete masonry unit (CMU) to accommodate a traditional garage shutter entrance and standard door. The remaining three form a series of ‘mini facades’ using varying configurations of doors and windows with wood or metal frameworks and corrugated shutters.
Using brick rubble, harnessed from the arch cutouts in the internal structural walls and removed to open up the blocked entrances, I created a new aggregate material.