Plans for a £1million multi-use urban sports art park which will see a disused space turned into a hub for the local community, under a disused part of the M74, have been unveiled today (Friday, 18 July) in an exhibition at in The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture.
Glasgow Urban Sports (GUS)—the charitable organisation behind the plans—has developed innovative designs to revitalise a vacant space in the Port Eglinton area of Glasgow. Under the project name GUSM74, its plan is to transform the site into an inclusive, aesthetically intriguing park space, designed by artists to encourage radical urban sports use including skateboarding, BMX and free-running.
Artist and one of two lead designers, Raydale Dower spoke at the launch: “We’re thrilled that the park has already had such a welcoming response, even though it’s only in concept and consultation stages.
“Over the last few decades urban sports have developed a strong following with enthusiasts developing their own styles, rules and testing on all types of terrain. The beauty is there is no standard design template, so we can be as creative as we want.
“The idea is that the urban sports park will become a dynamic community space for everyone to use and importantly, Glasgow’s weather won’t dampen spirits as it’s a covered area.”
The park will utilise the M74 flyover, which will shelter over 50% of the space beneath, ensuring its users are not discouraged by changeable weather conditions.
Internationally known artist and fellow lead designer Toby Paterson added: “This is an artist-led initiative, so it’s designed in conjunction with architects and people with experience in ‘activity-based’ design, also incorporating landscape and what a public park might need to include. We’re taking an empty space, occupying it and make it a positive place.
“We want to offer a place for people to come together and use the space as they like – for sports, walking, spectating or just enjoying the physical space, learning about new ‘sports’ from others, and we’re even considering a dedicated graffiti wall for street artists. Rather than complain about vandalism, we want to give an area to artists to express themselves.”
“Portland, Oregon is a great city to examine. It has some wonderful examples where vacant spaces have been transformed into useful and tasteful public places – places which skate boarders have used in pursuit of their sport and helped to discourage anti-social activity.”
The exhibition is an opportunity for everyone to see the plans, discuss them and even help shape the park. The next phase will be to seek planning permission from Glasgow City Council and once that’s been granted, GUSM74 will launch a fundraising campaign.
Ian Elder, manager of The Lighthouse, talks about the importance of being able to measure the impact of the design of the park: “With direct cycle and pedestrian routes in the area and into the city, it’s a considered space making use of unused space as a free public space. What’s really special about this design is the positive impact that it could have on the community, for people who live, work, visit and socialise there. Landscaping will improve the look and also the environment of the area whilst the activities being encouraged allow for fun, healthy active lifestyles and integration of people from all communities, backgrounds and even geographical locations.”
It is hoped that when the development is complete it will set a European precedent for its unique blueprint that will synthesise art, sport and urban realm design.
The exhibition will run until Sunday, 10 August.