The spaces of labour project title lead me to looking at a more general analysis of labor and the social implications that the infrastructure around these spaces has on a community and nation. Instead of choosing a single industry or product, I decided to focus my research on Glasgow when it was at its productive peak. The main interest I had in Glasgow at this time was how the city was a thriving ambitious place to live. This is a far cry from what Glasgow is like now, with derelict buildings, broken transport networks and social housing making Glasgow a city of segregation and separation rather than a place where all the factors of society overlap and work together. My main inspiration for this project was the city of Glasgow’s ability to regenerate and be self sufficient for industry, food, education and materials. The industrial ambition that was so strong in the people of Glasgow between 1850 and 1914 is what I wanted to re-instate back into the city. How I would do this was the problem that I had set myself.
To understand how Glasgow’s dense, industrial network had dissolved, I divided Glasgow into nine zones and produced research cards based on types of industary. I researched 140 sites that were suitable for re-development. The sites are a resource that has been presented to architecture and Design Scotland to highlight a need for using derelict sites rather than forcing new buildings and materials into a disjointed urban plan.
S.O.L is a project that originated in the post-graduate programme in the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde. Its principal mission is to investigate the architectural, spatial and social organisation of work.
S.O.L is critical of the economic policies of successive governments that saw the remedy to the social and economic devastation caused by de-industrialisation in the expansion of the services sector where employment has often been of an insecure nature in poorly designed and constructed buildings.
S.O.L believes that the long-term future of the Scottish economy is dependent on us expanding and reinvigorating a manufacturing and industrial sector, and that architecture and design has a role to play in this process by illustrating and imagining what new types of productive landscape could conceivably emerge.
S.O.L is speculating on what types of buildings and spaces might be required in the twenty first century that are devoted to innovations in the production of energy, eco-transport systems, green building materials, seaweed, and natural pharmaceuticals.
S.O.L is simultaneously documenting the historical places and building typologies associated with industries that have gone into decline, such as coal, textiles, fishing and slate. It is doing this to ensure that these landscapes are not forgotten, and to speculate on whether it is possible to regenerate them and find new uses for the buildings and infrastructure.
S.O.L is registered as a worker’s co-operative of designers and architects.