Back to the City Glasgow School of Art Conference, Architecture at the Mac, Scotland

Mackintosh School of Architecture Conference 2016

Back to the City: GSA Event, Glasgow, Scotland – Speakers on Urbanism Housing and Density

15 Apr 2016

Back to the City Conference


Keynote speakers include: Sjoerd Soeters, Piers Gough, Theodor Winters and Kathleen James-Chakraborty

CZWG – Crown Street Regeneration Project Masterplan:
CZWG: Crown Street Regeneration Project Masterplan

Mackintosh School of Architecture Conference in Glasgow

Back to the City, conference by the Mackintosh School of Architecture at The Glasgow School of Art.

The conference, which brings together international speakers from academia and practice, will take place in the Reid Building at the GSA on 5 & 6 May 2016.

On 12 May 1976, Secretary of State for Scotland Bruce Millan announced the cancellation of the plans to expand the village of Stonehouse outside Glasgow into a new town with 40,000 inhabitants, and the redirection of the corresponding funds to the Glasgow Eastern Area Renewal (GEAR). After three decades, the era of new towns outside British cities was finally drawing to an end, and policy was increasingly focusing on the inner cities as a place of residence.

The Glasgow experience was by no means unique. Although suburbanization was continuing, from the 1970s onwards national and municipal policies in many European countries increasingly promoted living in the inner city. The International Building Exhibition, or IBA, in West Berlin (1979-1987), the regeneration of Rotterdam’s nineteenth-century neighbourhoods (begun 1973), the redevelopments of the London Docklands (begun 1981), Amsterdam Eastern Harbour (begun 1988) and Copenhagen South Harbour (begun 1995) as well as numerous infills and industrial redevelopments in the inner cities of Barcelona, Hamburg, Vienna or Gothenburg evidence the increasing emphasis on housing in the inner cities.

“On the one hand, the conference will examine the architectural outcomes of the ‘return to the inner city’ –the numerous variations of dense, multi-storey “New Tenement” architecture,” says Florian Urban of the Mackintosh School of Architecture. “On the other hand, it will look at the conditions that generated this architecture – the political and socio-economic background as well as the different ways in which living in the inner city was conceptualized.”

The Back to the City conference, spread over two days and featuring international speakers from academia and practice, will reflect on this shift, and the strategies of renewal undertaken.

Sjoerd Soeters, the designer of the Java Island/Eastern Harbour development in Amsterdam (1991-2000) and Sluseholmen development in Copenhagen (2005-9), will give the keynote address on 5 May.

He will also be joined by Piers Gough of CZWG, the master planner of Glasgow’s Crown Street Regeneration (1992-2000), Theodor Winters of STERN Berlin, an important actor in the International Building Exhibit (IBA) 1987, Kathleen James-Chakraborty, an architectural historian at the University College Dublin, and many other international speakers.

The conference is free to attend. To book email: Ambrose Gillick (a.gillick(at)

Back to the City Conference

Back to the City, Mackintosh School of Architecture Conference Details
The conference was organised by Florian Urban, Ambrose Gillick, and Miles Glendinning (University of Edinburgh) and is part of Leverhulme-funded two-year research project “The New Tenement” led by Florian Urban.

Full Programme

9.00 Intoduction:
Christopher Platt, Florian Urban and Miles Glendinning
9.10-10.30 Back to the City:
Theoretical Frameworks, Ola Uduku (moderator) – University of Edinburgh, Wolfgang Sonne – TU Dortmund, Ruxandra Stoica – University of Edinburgh, John Pendlebury – University of Newcastle
10.30-11.00 Coffee break
11.00-13.00 The European Context:
Florian Urban (moderator) – Glasgow School of Art, Ambrose Gillick – Glasgow School of Art, Paul van de Laar – Erasmus University Rotterdam and Museum of the City of Rotterdam, Jens Kvorning – Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Theodor Winters – S.T.E.R.N., Berlin
13.00-15.00 Lunch Bus Tour of the New Gorbals led by Florian Urban
15.00-16.45 The Retreat of the State:
Robert Proctor (moderator) – University of Bath, Susanne Schindler – ETH Zurich/ Columbia University, New York, Evandro Florin – São Paulo State University, Alicja Gzowska – University of Warsaw
16.45-17.00 Coffee break
17.00-18.00 Keynote Address:
Sjoerd Soeters – Soeters van Eldonk Architects, Amsterdam

9.00-11.00 Politics and the Return to the City – The Case of Glasgow:
Keith Kintrea (moderator) – University of Glasgow, David Adam – University of Glasgow, Johnny Rodger – Glasgow School of Art, Sarah Mass – University of Michigan
11.00-11.30 Coffee Break
11.30-13.30 New Residences in the Inner City:
Brian Evans (moderator) – Glasgow School of Art, Peter McGurn – McGurn Logan Duncan & Opfer, Glasgow, Piers Gough – CZWG, London, Jakob Dunkl – Querkraft Architekten, Vienna, Søren Nielsen – Vandkunsten Architects, Copenhagen
13.30 Lunch
15.00-15.30 Closing Address, Kathleen James-Chakraborty – University College Dublin

Links to the Speakers – architects studios on e-architect:

Website: Piers Gough – CZWG

Website: Querkraft Architekten

Website: Vandkunsten Architects

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