Category Archives: Concept Development

Exhibition Shed

Concept for a wood and glass free-standing exhibition shed on the quay between drydocks 1 and 2.

Exhibition Shed

Exhibition Shed

This would house a permanent walk-through exhibition of the chronological history of shipbuilding and maritime industries on the Clyde.

The shed would also provide a mezzanine viewing gallery overlooking drydock 2 – which is thought could be used for maintenance work on restoration project vessels or for replica ship projects – as well as providing a berth for visiting ships.

This could also have solar panels installed on the roof to provide its power.


Alternative Concept for the Large Quay

An alternative concept for the large quay (referred to as “Market Quay” in the white paper), using larger decked huts with more space between. These could be craft/gift shops, deli shops, cafes, studios, etc.


Alternative Concept for the Basin

An alternative concept for the basin, the graphic shows it silted-up and the banks sloped to create a tidal lagoon, with bird islands, which would be navigable by small / shallow-draft vessels. This would create a habitat for wildlife and better complement the ecology park area proposed for the land adjoining the basin.


Heritage Park White Paper

The draft white paper on the proposal for a heritage park at Govan Graving Docks is now available to download in PDF format. You may share and redistribute this document provided it is not edited in any way.

Govan Graving Docks Proposal – Draft White Paper Aug 2014 (PDF)

Govan Graving Docks Heritage Park
A conceptual proposal for the redevelopment of Govan Graving Docks in Glasgow as a
shipbuilding and maritime heritage park

Executive Summary

This paper presents a conceptual proposal for the redevelopment of the Govan Graving Docks in Glasgow as a shipbuilding and maritime heritage park.

The heritage park proposal puts forward a mix of residential (berths for live-aboard boats) and small-scale commercial development complementing an area of public realm quaysides, landscaped gardens, market space, ecology and nature reserve areas and museum heritage displays and exhibitions including restored vessels.

The wider context of previous development proposals for Govan Graving Docks and the socio-economic impact of the proposal is acknowledged and addressed, as well as the need to include community stakeholders moving forward. The challenges that will be faced in seeking to create a heritage park development will also be identified with a view to soliciting expert feedback.

The proposal makes as it’s core assertion that there is an inadequate level of recognition in Glasgow of the city’s shipbuilding and maritime heritage and that a heritage park at Govan Graving Docks would address this in a way that befits the key role these industries played in the city’s history and growth. Glasgow is synonymous the world over with shipbuilding and related industries however very little trace of the city’s industrial past remains. Govan Graving Docks is the only remaining major industrial dock complex on the Upper Clyde that has not been filled to make way for modern developments and may represent the only remaining opportunity to create a heritage site of this kind. Such opportunity would be permanently lost were the site used to create luxury housing. While new housing development will be very necessary in the years to come there is adequate derelict or disused land elsewhere in Glasgow with little historic interest and which is more suitable for extensive construction. Furthermore waterfront housing developments tend to be at the premium end of the market and this is not where housing supply inadequacies are currently found.

Glasgow is widely associated with shipbuilding and maritime industries as well as more recently with the industrial decline that the industries left in their wake. Clyde-built ships travelled throughout the world and were instrumental in development of the British Empire and trade with the colonies and other overseas territories. It is therefore apparent that there is an opportunity to develop this heritage in a way that appeals to a wide range of interests. While other cities with notable maritime heritage (for example Dundee [26], Liverpool [27] and Cardiff [28]) have developed their waterfronts extensively in a way that celebrates their maritime past there is very little development of this kind in Glasgow and no coherent strategy for the development of the city’s waterfront overall.

Wider spatial planning for Glasgow waterfront is outside of the scope of this paper but it is hoped that future strategy development by local planners will have a positive impact on the future of Govan Graving Docks. It is also possible that a development of Govan Graving Docks that is founded on heritage and conservation will have a positive influence on strategies for other developments along the Clyde Corridor in the future.

This paper does not answer all of the questions the proposal raises nor are the questions raised an exhaustive list of the challenges that must be met if a heritage park is to be delivered but it is hoped it will bring on board serious engagement from those with the resources and expertise necessary to assist in making a heritage park a reality.

Govan Graving Docks Proposal – Draft White Paper Aug 2014 (PDF)

Alternative Concept Images for Govan Road Edge

More concept images showing a row of commercial units along the Govan Road edge of the park. These are lower in height and less imposing structures than the previous concept, having only three floors (two at street level). Clad in sandstone and wood panel. The concept of a deck opening up the park onto Govan Road has been retained.

This is also looked at as an alternative approach to that which included residential units as previously incorporated in the model. With other brownfield sites available for residential development it may not be the best approach to use of the edge of site, especially with relatively small capacity. Also the development of exclusive luxury accommodation may be somewhat contrary to the community based ethos it is hoped the heritage park would encompass. Nor would this make ant real contribution to addressing either real or perceived shortage in housing supply.

It is anticipated these units would be restricted to leasing to small business tenants to prevent major chains from affecting the intended unique character of the site. As previously envisaged these would include such businesses as bars, cafes, restaurants, boutique shops, exhibition/creative spaces and small offices with preference given to new start business owners from the surrounding area.

Revised Model 012 Revised Model 013 Revised Model 014 Revised Model 015 Revised Model 016 Revised Model 017

Please leave comments below on all aspects of the design concept and if you have alternative ideas please share them as well.

More Revised Concept Images

More images from a revised 3D concept. This was developed taking more accurate dimensions from Google Earth and using a higher resolution satellite image import into sketchup to trace the layout of the docks and quays. It also accounts for the different levels that exist on the quays – which have been estimated from photographs of the site. The dimensions in the model are not completely accurate and are only for conceptual illustration.

A revised concept of a row of flats and commercial units along Govan Road has also been included. This is devised with demand for some degree of residential/commercial use in mind but in a way that it does not encroach onto the park – instead forming the boundary. While longer overall than the original concept – the idea of a continuous block has been replaced with a row of separate buildings. It has been integrated with a deck that would open the park onto Govan Road and has the overall look of a ship. It is anticipated the first 2 level, on the quay and the deck, would be commercial units (cafes, bars, restaurants, art galleries, boutique shops, etc) that would be leased to independent businesses and not major restaurant/coffee shop chains (or at least the presence of such businesses would be strictly limited). It is estimated the row could include up to 75-100 flats depending on size. This would be the maximum extent of any construction on the site – only marquees and free standing cabins would be used on the other quays and this would also be stipulated in the park deeds.

I am also working on an alternative concept for this that would use the deck onto Govan Road as designed but have only two levels, using wood and sandstone and having only commercial units in a more rustic style. Feedback regarding which people think is best (and importantly most viable) would be welcome. This will be taken into consideration in developing a finalised concept to be submitted to Glasgow City Council and others during the City Development Plan consultation. I would also like to seek feedback from anyone able to assist with developing a cost analysis of implementing a park concept along these lines.

The overall concept in terms of layout and utilisation of space is otherwise largely unchanged from the previous version (

The trees in the model are based on conifers as they are easy to render and having a low polygon-count don’t demand much graphic memory. Though I anticipate a variety of both evergreen and deciduous trees, including apple and other fruit trees, would be used throughout the park.

The Sketchup file will be published shortly.

Govan Graving Docks heritage park pump house.

View of the pump house from the north west. A water feature has been added in front of the building which could either be a lido or a pond with fish, aquatic plants and model boats. A conservatory extension has been added for additional cafe space. A new quay wall is show along the River Clyde replacing the previous quay which has collapsed completely.

Govan Graving Docks shipbuilding heritage park concept - quay between drydock three and the river

The narrow part of the quay to the north of dry dock 3 between the dock and the river. The concept envisages this would be a garden quay. Two levels exist on this quay as shown and the wall could be used for a variety of climbing plants. The grass areas could be planted with a variety of trees, shrubs and other plants – including fruit trees. Plants could be grown in maritime artifacts like old rowing boats or salvaged fixtures from ships arranged in the grass areas. It is also anticipated that a stepped garden would be created on the walls of this drydock. A trellis arch at the end of the path of the lower quay.

View of drydock 3

View over drydock three showing house boats, pontoons and floating gardens in the dock. Bridges have been added across the middle of the drydock and a row of flats and commercial units on Govan Road.

Access from Govan Road

Main Govan Road entrance. The deck opens on to the street enabling pedestrian access to the commercial units and walkways/views on the deck level and offering a vantage point of the park and skyline. A wide flight of steps and two elevators provide access down to the quay.

Quay between drydock 3 and Govan Rd

Commercial units and flats on the quay at Govan Road. The basements (quay side) and ground floors (street level) are commercial units and these could be cafes, bars, restaurants, art galleries, boutique shops, etc.

Drydock 3 Govan Road Quay

The existing stairwells in the dock are used to create access to pontoons in drydock 3

Govan Graving docks shipbuilding heritage park

Arial view of the entire park as it might look form the Science Centre tower. A bridge opens up access from Pacific Quay to the garden quay to the north of drydock 3. In order to use the stairwells on drydock 3 for pontoon access the water level will need to be lowered below that of the river. In order to maintain this level while still allowing vessels to enter and leave the dock it will be necessary to install a lock system. This could be achieved with an additional caisson gate at the end of the quay as shown in the image. This could accommodate vessels up to approx. 30m (~100ft) in length and up to 40m if the lock gate was angled to use the full length of the south quay based on taking measurements from Google Earth.

Govan Graving Docks heritage park basin

The basin to the west of the graving docks. A new stepped quay is shown around the basin which would accommodate a marina for house boats and rental/visitor moorings. Unchanged from the previous model on the left is a fenced nature reserve (shown in dark green) with bird pond and park grass areas (shown in lighter green) while the basin quays are flanked on the other sides by a nature reserve / ecology park area.