The hard materials and unforgiving design of the existing pedestrian walkway creates a desolate, soulless environment - the potentially delightful canal-side context being wasted.
Our aim is to create something joyful and humane, to soften the existing harsh urban context and provide a link with the rural landscape that the canal leads to. By doing this we endeavour to establish a place with a distinctive identity, a focal point connecting buildings, pedestrians, the canal and its users.
To realise our goal we have introduced an organic canopy of transparent
petals supported by mature oak trees. The ETFE cushion petals are
printed with coloured leaves and brightly lit to give a dramatic
appearance. From a distance and from the air the sequence of giant
flowers gives a unique and distinctive look.
Although the proposal is vibrant and innovative it is achieved
using established technologies. ETFE cushions give the characteristic
appearance to the Eden Project in Cornwall and have been used to
clad many prestigious buildings worldwide including the Treasury
Buildings and Natural History Museum in London, and the Stirling
Prize wining Magna Project. ETFE offers a highly cost effective
and durable building component. The cushions are restrained around
their perimeter with proprietary aluminium extrusions, which are
in turn fastened to a supporting primary structure. Inflated with
low-pressure air to effectively resist wind loads, they can be partially
or completely prefabricated and then clipped into their supporting
framework on site.
Cultivating and transplanting mature trees such as the Oaks used
to support our organic canopy is a well-established technique –
developed in northern Europe it has been used in this country for
many years, whilst using living trees to support structures –
from tree houses to aerial walkways – is an age-old practice.
The proposed trees are home grown Fastigiate Cultivar Oaks. With
their stiff straight trunks and crown above 4m high they are a very
suitable choice giving the necessary clearance for the canopy, the
strength to support the petals and stiffness to resist the wind
loads and not to wave around unduly.
The resultant design creates an exceptional and delightful space
to what has been a joyless and unloved location, a gateway to the
rejuvenated canal and a beacon for the regeneration of Clydebank.
Structural Engineers: David Narro Associates
Cost Consultant: Davis Langdon LLP