Next year is a double whammy for me. Not only does Cumbernauld get a bus pass (The 60th Anniversary falls between 2016 and 2017-don’t ask, it’s complicated) but 2016 is also the Festival of Architecture, a year long celebration of Scotland’s best buildings. I am not an architect, and my interest in the field is new. But, by exploring my interest in place and psychogeography through the medium of photography (!), I’ve taken a lot of pictures of buildings. There’s no elaborate process, I usually just try and capture buildings I like, with a strong preference for modernist and brutalist architecture emerging.
So it was with more than a smidgen of smugness that I realised, that many of my snaps feature buildings from the long list, contending for the title of best building of the century. Alas, my mini ego-trip was shortlived. Maybe it’s obvious what makes a great building. Even as an ordinary (non-architect) person navigating cities and towns, maybe I have more architectural literacy than I realise? Perhaps it’s as simple as that good architectural design is easy to spot? These ideas warrant further exploration, but I’ll mull them over and come back to it some other post.
Putting my questions to one side, I am hopeful that more people will be able to think about the buildings in the places in which they live and travel, visit and work. With Assemble winning the Turner Prize and subsequent media furore; and the FOA2016 coming up, maybe more ‘ordinary people’ will be switched on to the influence and potential of the buildings in our towns and cities, and of the impact they have on our lives.
Scroll on to see a selection of my photographs of the longlisted buildings.
Arches and City Chambers, Glasgow. Watson, Salmond and Gray. 1923.
1927. Bank of Scotland,St Vincent Street, Glasgow. James Miller.
1933. St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, Dennistoun. Gillespie Kidd and Coia.
1954. Kilsyth Academy, Kilsyth. Basil Spence.
1964. Glasgow College of building and printing, Cathedral Street, Glasgow. Wylie Shanks and Underwood.
1970 BOAC building, Buchanan Street, Glasgow. Gillespie Kidd and Coia.
1974. University of Stirling, Bridge of Allan. RMJM.
1974. Phase III Housing, St George’s Road, Glasgow. Boswell Mitchell & Johnson.
1999. Homes for the future, the Green. Elder and Cannon.
The public will be able to vote for their favourite building from Spring 2016. There’s a development in Cumbernauld- must be the only houses in the town I’ve not got a picture of (yet)- that I’m tempted to vote for.
Have a look at the longlist (the link here) and let me know what you’ll be voting for. And are there are any obvious omissions from the list?