The Glasgow Institute of Architects

Over the last couple months I have had several great discussions with people involved in some of Scotland's top authorities in Architecture, including the Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), the Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA) and the University of Strathclyde Architecture Department.  

2016 was recently announced as the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design for Scotland (Source), and as a result these architectural bodies wish to collaborate and celebrate Architecture in Scotland in 2016.  A potentially great opportunity for me to assist in displaying and publicising the activities and architecture on show by architects and by the students and graduates who are patiently waiting in the wings.

GIA President Michael Dougall discusses their installation in the workshop

GIA President Michael Dougall discusses their installation in the workshop

Michael Dougall is the current GIA President and also tutors at Strathclyde University.  It was through his work with the 1st Year Architecture Dept that I met him, and he gave me the opportunity to photograph at this years GIA Awards Dinner.

Michael Dougall at Wiston Lodge with Strathclyde Architecture Dept

Michael Dougall at Wiston Lodge with Strathclyde Architecture Dept

I have been a guest at this event on several occasions going back around 4-5 years, as has been the case in recent years it was held in the West End's Oran Mór.  The venue is spectacular visually, a myriad of colour, however technically it proved somewhat of a challenge to photograph. The pinks and blues of the LED lighting combined with the AV presentation meant the room was generally dark, specifically in the triple height central space (where the majority of people were sat.) 

The speaker for the evening was Mr Mark Beaumont, adventurer, athlete and after dinner speaker.  He spoke about his journey around the Commonwealth with the Queen's Baton, visiting a host of interesting places and peoples.  His interesting talk highlighted the privileges or lack thereof that some of the athletes had when training and how well they did to compete at such a level. 

Compere for the evening was the President himself Michael Dougall, I was able to get some great backlit shots of him speaking to the room full of GIA members.

The Design Awards were presented by Robin Webster complete with tartan trews.  I was lucky enough to have had my photographs represent the Scenic Routes projects, Hutchesons' Hall and the Athole Lane garage by Linearchitecture.

I was pleased to watch the awards unfold and be involved in the commendation of two projects and the winner for one of the Scenic Routes project "Woven Sound" by John Kennedy.  The judging process involves and initial submission which should explain the project via words but more importantly captured through photographs. So for these projects to have done so well, I'm delighted.

The whole team at Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority were delighted, and from a personal point of view I really hope this spurs on the potential from expansion of the Scenic Routes as I'd love it to move onto the Western side of the National Park.

Overall I had a great evening and got to speak to some really interesting people.  I'm really happy at the fact I was lucky enough to be involved with some of the entrants and hope I can be again in the future, especially with such an exciting time coming up for Architecture in Scotland.

Wiston Lodge

Following my successful shoots for Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority photographing the Scenic Routes installations I was commissioned by Strathclyde University Architecture Department (producer of the students responsible for the Scenic Routes projects) to photograph their 1st Year installation design brief.

The project involved several groups/units designing an installation that would ultimately have to be pre-fabricated or constructed on site in the grounds of a place called Wiston Lodge near Biggar.

I was asked if I could document the process by observing one of the penultimate tutorial sessions in the studios at the Strathclyde Architecture Department in Glasgow.  The tutorial that I attended demonstrated the culmination of the several weeks work and decision making that resulted in each group member designing an installation, then the group deciding upon which design to progress and construct for the final presentation.


The students had made intricate models to scale, and created some beautiful sketches that had helped them to work out what was required to build the final designs at Wiston Lodge.

The students had access to the University workshop, allowing for some form of pre-fabrication to take place prior to being on site in Biggar.

The construction phase was over a two day period and I attended on site on the second day, this way I was able to photograph the installations that had already been completed, and the process of the installations that were under-way and pushing to be finished for the deadline that evening.

The range and quality of the work was excellent and it meant that every project was completely different.  I tried to capture each one within its own context, as I knew t his had originally been a factor within the design process.

One of my favourites was a design created the day before I had arrived, located at the top of a small waterfall, an interior space had been created by simply defining the boundaries with a red rope.  This meant the user was guided into and around the space without inhibiting the views of the forest and winding water at all.

Several of the constructions were being worked on well into the darkness and as a result allowed me to light them artificially.  Had they been finished slightly earlier I could have possibly made use of the wonderful golden light that flooded the 'red rope' project on these as well.

I had a great day at Wiston Lodge and really enjoyed the experience of seeing these installations come to life.  The location was amazing, with such diversity in surroundings in a relatively close proximity.  The weather was crisp and the light fantastic, overall, a fantastic opportunity for me and hopefully a great showcase for these students and their creations.

Reflected Views

Original Post Date - 18th June 2014

Recently I have been carrying out some work with the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority photographing some newly created tourist related installations. I was dispatched last minute to photograph a student installation by Angus Ritchie + Daniel Tyler. The mirrored box looked great in-situ and reflected the ever changing environment that surrounds it. 
I tried to really give a 3rd person feel to the images, kind of looking over the shoulder of the installation as its purpose was ultimately frame certain views. I wanted to include the structure in all of the images and not just the view. The field that the 'lookooterie' is situated in had been used for camping the weekend previous for a foodie festival at the hotel Monachyle Mhor. Then I had to vacate the site due to an over-curious ram protective of its lambs...

The project and thus my images have been garnering some interest from all over the world including the Daily MailArchDailyinhabitat, and dezeen.
For more of my architectural work click here.