SASA Leads Design Charette For New National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) Project in Glasgow

By Darren Southgate.

SASA (Southgate & Sarabia Architects) leads Design Charette For New National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) Project supporting designers and end users in their quest for design excellence.

It’s always an honour to be asked to do something because of identifiable skills, knowledge or expertise, expertise which has been hard won over 15 years of designing advanced manufacturing buildings for both public and private clients alike. The challenges are common across the sector and in the spirit of accelerating design decision making to deliver faster, cheaper and better outcomes, knowledge transfer is the only way between experts in an open forum and society.

Darren Southgate has shared his experiences and knowledge in a 2-day interactive Charette with over 140 participants in four sessions in two key venues. The Charette is of course a form of design engagement tool originating from the French word for cart, and particularly the carts that would take artists’ work from their studios to a place of criticism. The French word and westernized adaptation to become the name for a design review or engagement session, the Charette was born.

The project is in Glasgow for the University of Strathclyde and their outer campus located in Renfrew adjacent to the airport. It will become the centre-piece to a Scottish digital manufacturing renaissance and the birth of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District in Scotland, an American concept forged by Bruce Katz through research and economic policy work in the US. The projects will focus on Digital Manufacturing through a concept factory called Digital Factory 2050, a skills-based facility called the Manufacturing Skills Academy and Collaboratory known as the Forum. Here organisations will be able to coalesce and have serendipitous meetings, where new ideas maybe forged in the adhoc space of ‘the opportunity.’ The team is led by the University Estates Team and the design team consists of HLM Architects, Watermans and Dave McCullock. There is also a wider masterplanning team which includes SWECO and 5 Plus Architects.

The first day involved two groups of Advanced Forming Manufacturing Research staff, using their board room and ‘street’ space as places to present, discuss and summarise. Always a joy to see end users dream, thinking about the way their building can function and showcase advancing technology, feeling that energy surface through animated discussion. From these groups emerge leaders, those that will help run workstreams in the next stage of the design. Using Charettes to deliver engagement but also percolate excellence into the conscious has become a real success of our form of delivery.
Our second day was made up of government office, university groups, partners and main board for the project. An interesting mix of people with very diverse backgrounds and views on the building. It is fair to say all groups over the two days came up with similar ideas in rich detail, all helping to lead the design process moving forward from this point.

Having undertaken this exercise and many like it, the follow up at the next milestone is incredibly important to show how engagement has been included or otherwise, so individuals don’t feel like their time has been wasted or paid lip service to. We look forward to hearing about the progress of this project over the coming months seeing how the design has developed including ideas from all participatants.

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