Elspeth Tayler

Ravenscraig, a post-industrial urban wasteland, sits east of Motherwell and historically found itself playing host to one of the largest steelworks in Europe. Once titled ‘Scotland’s Newest New Town’, the developer-led town plan fell victim to the perils of politics and economics, leaving behind fragments of development – a sports centre, a college – with developer housing sprawl gradually descending across the site. The demise of the development presents the opportunity to question the plans by investigating and proposing an alternative approach. The proposal uses the idea of formal autonomy as a driver for an alternative plan that will accommodate the future growth of Scotland and help densify the fragmented urbanism that currently exists. The approach places a focus on form as a generator of permanence, a removal from the constraints of external influences alongside a willingness to distort pre-conceived ideas function and form. Montage was developed as a method to generate formal autonomy. The process of montaging canonical city plans into Ravenscraig questioned previous capital led development plans and tested different interpretations of formal autonomy and the architecture they generate. City Condensers act as incubators of formal autonomy, taking samples of different city plans to create forms separated from function, resistant to external influences and resilient to time. Each is a test-bed, creating a series of typologies of city condensers.




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