Speculative Architecture: 2005 – 2008

In the fourth season of ART PARK Glasgow, fourteen individuals and groups of architects, artists and designers were invited to propose imaginative ways in which art and architecture could be used innovatively for the benefit of users of the park and to encourage more visitors to make use of and enjoy its increasing facilities and landscaped beauty.

The fourteen entries were wide ranging, thought provoking, and exciting in their scope and intention. Each one would in itself be an attribute to the park and help identify Bellahouston as ART PARK Glasgow.

Some ideas verged on an epic scale creating pathways rich in symbolism and historical reference:

  1. An ecologically aware plan for ‘New Allotment Gardens for Bellahouston Park’.
  2. An alternative entry to the Victorian Walled Garden.
  3. A wonderfully imaginative promenade which circumnavigates the densely forested hill at tree top level : A ‘skywalk’.

‘dot.dot.dot’ sought to bring 6 tonnes of earth from across the world to Bellahouston to construct five circular, flat mounds.

House for an Art Lover and Glasgow City Council sought sponsorship in order that several of these challenging ideas could come to fruition. The following three winning entries continued to a detailed design stage and were later installed over the years of 2006-2008:

‘A Garden for a Plant Collector’, a glass house designed by Gross Max Landscape Architects, was the first proposal to be constructed. ‘A Garden for a Plant Collector’ is a severe glass box which utilises fibre optics and ultra violet lighting to make fluorescent plants grow.

‘Glasgow Roots’ by award winning Gareth Hoskins Architects, traces a line south to north across the hill with the relics of a former mansion and the base of what was ‘Tait’s Tower’, icon of the Empire Exhibition of 1938, as the centre point or fulcrum. A thin ribbon of indigenous meadow plants sweeps upwards to a grid-like arrangement of stone and concrete blocks set within the former basement/footprint of Bellahouston House. Further individual blocks, etched with references to Glasgow’s development seem to spill in a line, at seemingly random angles down the grass slopes towards the City centre.

‘Maze or Labyrinth’ by JM Architects, which draws on Lewis Carol’s Alice Stories and the film, ‘The Matrix’, provides visitors with scope for interaction as well as a commanding modern presence.

One of the judges, Councillor Aileen Colleran, Convener of Glasgow City Council's Parks and Facilities Committee said:

"We were absolutely delighted to receive such high quality designs. The winning entries are outstanding and the 21st century version of a glass house as seen in 'Garden for a plant collector' complements the Council's agenda to restore our Victorian glasshouses, such as the Kibble Palace."

David J Leslie, Chairman of House for an Art Lover, was equally inspired by the standard of entries:

“The competition has attracted outstanding entries, all of which are worthy of our attention. This will firmly establish Bellahouston as ART PARK Glasgow.”