Im a Landscape Architecture Masters at Edinburgh College of Art. That involved all kinds of classes from life drawing to glass sculpture, metal working, design tuition and academic elements too. I went on exchange to the Swedish Agricultural Colege - SLU and took an internship in Paris with a design company called Agence TER. Growing up in Glasgow was probably the most helpful background in the recent 7 lochs competition - the home advantage.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is an intelligent, responsible and preserving attitude to the future. It should inform our actions in everything from personal consumption to large scale industrial developments, urban growth and government policy making.
What do you feel is the greatest challenge when it comes to designing/peoples attitudes for environmentally sustainability?
Convenience and profit may be the biggest challenges when it comes to peoples attitudes around environmental sustainability. People need convenience to maintain a busy lifestyle that is, in turn, streamlined by the further availability of convenience. Bringing environmental sustainability into this relationship can be a big challenge. The story of the ‘Arctic 30’ has recently brought the unsustainable practices of arctic drilling world-wide fame - practices that are motivated by profit. Environmental sustainability is a low priority when compared with drilling projects worth billions of pounds.
What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
My goal is to work well with ‘place’ and community, and to be true to the sites that I deal with. This means analysing with an open mind and designing with sensitivity. It does not rule out sudden or creative decisions.
•Assorted Architects and Landscape Architects (large and small) including ERZ, Chora, OOBE, James Corner Field Operations, Peter Latz, Pigin Perfect, City Design Coop.
• Werner Herzog - film director.
• Samuel Plimsoll - A Victorian politician and social reformer who, after a period of destitution, devoted his life and assets to the campaign for ‘safe loading lines’ on merchant ships. It ended the lethal practice of overloading on sub-standard vessels.
• Ernest Shackleton
In your opinion is sustainability important for you?
To act unsustainably is to act irresponsibly. For that reason, sustainability is very important to me.
The green bridge connecting the 7 Lochs Wetland Park is the next project. It will encourage sustainability in Glasgow on several levels. There is a strong cycle path running over the bridge that leads to local destinations and housing areas. This is planned to link in with cycle networks and will open up commuting routes in the area. Wildlife will use this bridge because it designed to be an area of land (or ‘green-space’) rather than a linear connection. It’s wide and dense enough for various animals to use without interruption and for birds to find nesting cover. Placing the bridge amongst existing forests strengthens this potential link across the motorway. The proposal plays a role in framing new housing developments with green-space infrastructure - an infrastructure that provides land that can be used in SUD systems. The ‘fill’ (added soil) that will sustain the green of the green bridge will be taken from ‘cut’ (dug-out soil) that creates a water link under the motorway with wetland holding territories on either side. This is currently proposed for a site near Gartloch. Finally, a green-space strategy that uses derelict land left behind by the ‘Big 4’ social housing schemes is being discussed. This strategy sets a precedence for the regeneration of Glasgow’s urban fringe.
What made you enter the Seven Lochs contest?
It was a colourful brief. It gave me a chance to contribute to Glasgow’s regeneration and work with the GCV Green Network Partnership on a major piece of ‘green infrastructure’. It is also the first project of it’s kind in Scotland.
The analysis and design work that the GCV Green Network Partnership and Collective Architecture did was a big inspiration. All my own ideas came from the people and places I encountered on my site trips around Easterhouse, Drumpelier and Gartloch. I was struck by the beauty of Easterhouse in the setting of what will become the Seven Lochs Wetland Park. Hills, mature forests, rich heritage and open space make up the majority of this area. It has enormous potential.
Green bridges exist all over Europe to link people and habitats across infrastructure. Their simple, robust forms were a great starting point for this bridge design. The deprivation within Easterhouse led me to consider how other greenspace projects have been planned in similar situations like Val Fourre, France.
I think that boom, bust and large scale population shifts in Glasgow throughout the 20th century have left it full of interesting sites. Glasgow’s infrastructure has been designed in various stages according to different briefs. In the wake of change, whole areas are often left to become green and overgrown but to make these into public, accessible and unique green spaces is too much to do by 2015. It’s fascinating work and I’m looking forward to making a contribution with the Green Network Partnership who’s mission it is to deliver effective green networks around Glasgow. All this will take a while so perhaps Glasgow will be Europe's keenest to be greenest city by 2015, but not its greenest.
Are you working on anything else currently?
I’m about to start a full-time job with multi-disciplinary practice named ERZ. They have a range of interesting projects (urban and rural) including the landscape renovation of St Peter’s Seminary - soon to become an arts centre on the banks of the Clyde estuary.
For more information about Euan Maharg and the seven Lochs competition check out our previous article we covered back in November.