Brutally honest: Scottish Brutalism website from University of Strathclyde

The threat of demolition looming large over increasing numbers of Brutalist buildings has inadvertently thrust the style back into the public conscience. There was even a feature on The One Show last night… Down the road at University of Strathclyde, planners are still refusing to rule out demolition of its famous architecture building while in England, Preston Council’s bid to block Preston Bus Station being granted listed heritage status rumbles on.

Brutalist architecture has courted controversy since its inception in 1950s Britain. Simultaneously held up as an affordable solution for public buildings and cheap housing and as an urban decay problem, the buildings have, over the decades, weathered the critics little better than the elements. As more beleaguered buildings are condemned to demolition, efforts are being stepped up to conserve the architecture style’s heritage.

Enter research student Ross Brown who has launched the website to accompany the Scottish Brutalism project at the University of Strathclyde. The site is modestly being billed as a work in progress, downplaying the extremely useful and well-researched content on offer. The aim is to illustrate the quality and variety of the architecture style around Glasgow and the west region of Scotland through the continuous mapping, documenting and archiving of prime examples. There are a number of high-quality images of the Strathclyde campus and the Charing Cross area, as well as an article by Brown on Glasgow School of Art’s former Newbery Tower. Our top tip would be to check the links to other sites, which lists Robert Proctor and Ambrose Gillick’s project-blog on Roman Catholic Architecture in Britain, and the illustrated online database of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia images. The fact that many of these sites have direct relevance to the Brutalist style, is in itself, evidence of growing popular interest.

To be alerted to new posts from the website, follow @scotbrut on Twitter, or join the mailing list.

This post was reblogged from the excellent GSA Library Architectural Resources blog


Archives and Collections user case studies

CAD drawing of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia's St Bride's Church, East Kilbride, by Ambrose Gillick

CAD drawing of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia’s St Bride’s Church, East Kilbride, by Ambrose Gillick

We’ve recently added some case studies to our website about how various types of researchers have used Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections Centre.

East-west elevation of the Mackintosh Building, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1897

East-west elevation of the Mackintosh Building, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1897

So far these include information about how, for example, Ambrose Gillick, an architectural researcher, has used the Gillespie, Kidd & Coia archive in his work on the project Roman Catholic Church Architecture in Britain 1955-1975, and about how designer Gabriella DiTano of Risotto Studio (who we’ve blogged about previously) used our photograph collection as the basis for a commissioned piece of work using her celebrated risograph print technique.

Gabriella Marcella DiTano

Gabriella Marcella DiTano

There’s also some information about how architectural historian Joseph Sharples has been using the institutional archives in his work on the Mackintosh Architecture: Context, Making and Meaning project, and some feedback from Phil Palmer, a researcher with a personal interest in the artist Maurice Greiffenhagen, who was a tutor at the Glasgow School of Art at the beginning of the 20th century.

GSA_NMC014 Washerwomen, by Maurice Greiffenhagen

GSA_NMC014 Washerwomen, by Maurice Greiffenhagen

Visit the Case Studies section of our website for more information, we plan to add more examples very soon.

Contact us if you would like to use our archives and collections for your own research, be it family history, academic, educational, commercial or for creative practice.