Test Unit

Test Unit, Glasgow (United Kingdom) 2016

Test Unit (Independent) with Glasgow School of Art

Test Unit sought to identify and activate a derelict site in the North of Glasgow by prototyping social activity, programme and infrastructure towards enabling new modes of urban occupation.  Such an approach builds capacity in communities, enabling them to be the power that delivers change and acts as an antidote to customary participatory processes of talking, charrettes and oral consultations which normally result in little actual improvement or reciprocity between development and local need. Test Unit instead instigated the prototyping of physical things, potential infrastructure, art and installations designed and made by the participants with direction from a team of facilitators; architects Baxendale, Kate Darby, designer Neil Maguire and artist Rebecca Davies and other experts, as mechanisms for exploring the potential of the site as a discrete physical and social space, as a potential locus for urban creativity and as a setting for broader discussions about the nature and potential of urban renewal. The act of making and ‘performing’ with and on the site was applied as both an improvised mode of understanding the context as well as suggesting a future condition for this particular place.

Client: Taktal/Agile City CIC with Lee Ivett (Architect) and Neil McGuire (designer)

Tutors: Lee Ivett (Architect), Kate Darby (Architect), Rebecca Davies (Visual Art), Neil McGuire (Designer)

Other Facilitators: Glasgow School of Art, Scottish Canals, Creative Scotland, Events Scotland, Igloo Developments, Stalled Spaces GCC

Students: Undergraduate, Graduate and Post Graduate students of all departments at Glasgow School of Art, Community development practitioners, visual artists, architects, designers, community members, performance artists from Scotland, UK and Europe

Research Question: How do we create sustainable organic and responsive change in cities?

Endless workshops, planning meetings, community engagement and post-its? Probably not. Change comes from activism in public space – doing, not just talking.

Our aims were threefold:

  1. To prototype ideas in public space to inform urban development.
  2. Build capacity for participants to initiate future grass-roots projects.
  3. Place culture, people and education at the heart of regeneration.

11-50, Analytical, Architecture, Art & Design, Collaboration, Construction, Days, Design, Extra-curricular, Glasgow School of Art, Graduates, Postgraduate, Propositional, Self-funded, Sponsorship, Students with tutor, Temporary, Test Unit, Undergraduate, United Kingdom