Monday, 3 July 2017

New Typologies for Brexit Britain

The New Typologies exhibition at Architecture Fringe 2017 in Glasgow occurs in the political maelstrom that is Brexit. The exhibition opens just weeks after the General Election where the promoters and "owners" of Brexit took a hammering and opened up the question, "What kind of Brexit does the country want? What kind of country do we want to live in?" 

New Typologies asks what kind of buildings do we want to reflect this nervous new world. 

McGinley Bell's Health Centre with the corporate scale of a bank or power company headquarters cut through with monumental openings. An airy castle of health and not much in the way of grovelling in the gutter of austerity.

The school building by Stallan Brand amounts to a complete redesign of the learning process. The school reflects the needs of learning in the digital age where interpretation and questioning of data is the challenge that education needs to address. The rampant model presented in the exhibition suggests rather than represents a solution, an open venue of exploration and discovery. 

Adam Nathaniel Furman's Town Hall recognises the rise of the city as a political force that can and will make a difference in people's lives. His bold and colourful design is a reworking of the elements of a traditional Victorian town hall, moving away from the bland managerial local politics of today. Both a move back to the liberal mayors that "spearheaded reforms, and massive urban improvements that transformed the lives of those living in the new metropolises." and a move forward to a building, a Democratic Monument, used and owned equally by both elected officials and the people.

"In crisis lies the greatest opportunity for reinvention." says Furman. These are important explorations at a critical point in time. Brexit, wanted or not, offers an opportunity to reassess - everything. Possibly we might even imagine a world where there is more to public life than cost cutting.