my 2010

2010 was a real mixed bag for me on many levels. I am approaching 40 in 2011 and still take some comfort in this still being generally acknowledged as young for an architect. As I have mentioned previously, I have become more active on twitter than this blog but still feel there is some worth in posting on here from time to time, especially now at new year to record a bit of what I got up to in 2010.

Workwise, our most major achievement was the completion of the £3.5m community business centre now known as ‘one wellwynd’. It opened for business in November and there will be an official opening sometime soon. My practice has been working on the project for around 5 years and we are extremely proud of the outcome and initial feedback from the tenants and the public generally has been extremely positive. More images can be seen on the gca architecture+design website or on my flickr stream

one wellwynd


I have continued to progress other projects which will hopefully see the light of day in 2011 including more community based projects, an interesting agricultural residential development, an office extension, a sports pavilion, equestrian centre, several domestic remodelling/extensions and the redevelopment of Hartsdown Park in Margate which is a project I have worked on for around 7 years off and on and is now looking close to being realised.

I have found time to look at entering a few competitions reaching a shortlist of 10 for a new arena at Queen’s Park in Glasgow (see May post) and more recently, a sculpture competition to design a sculpture for the headquarters of SELECT, the trade association for the electrical industry in Scotland which we won. I am not sure what the programme is yet to complete the sculpture and there is a bit of work for me to do in working out the logistics of sourcing the materials and how it will be constructed but i am sure I will hear shortly into the new year.The idea is that it is formed in glass insulators and will light up and glow in the evening.

dielectric sculpture

I recently took the role of vice-chairman of the Lanarkshire Business Group and continue in my role as convener of the education committee of the Glasgow Institute of architects. Organising the Alexander Thomson Scholarship is top of the list of duties along with getting the next GIA photo competition up and running in the next month.

I didn’t travel as much as I had hoped during 2010, mostly due to pressures of work. I managed a few days on the Isle of Skye and the beginning of Spring and a trip to the Alps in Autumn to climb the highest mountain in Italy Gran Paradiso via some walking in chamonix in France. I did keep up my growing interest in Photography and started to get a good bit of interest in my work. I invested in a DSLR, a canon 400D a few years ago with a view to taking pictures for the GCA website. Since then my interest in photography has grown and grown and I love taking pictures of architecture, landscapes and pretty much anything else. The one area I haven’t developed in is portraits which I have started to concentrate on more. I have now started my own photography website www.jmcphoto.co.uk and invested in a canon 5D Mark II and a new tripod, now looking into investing in some good lenses and seeking out good assignments for myself.


portencross, one of my first trips out with new 5D Mark I

i never managed to get to any music festivals this year, which is the first time in a while. I go through phases of wanting to go to see live music and this year I haven’t seen much and missed a lot of gigs i would usually have gone well out of my way to see. It may be an age thing but i find myself much less likely to go out midweek, it’s probably more to do with working long hours though. I recently saw the pogues on what they were calling their farewell tour. I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen them live, the first time being in 1987 supporting U2 at Murrayfield during their Joshua Tree tour. Although McGowan can be eratic in his performances, the strength in the rest of the pogues and the quality of the song writing always make these gigs a worthwhile experience. I am going to see New York band The Walkmen in glasgow shortly which will hopefully ignite my enthusiasm for seeing a bit more live music this year.

2010 wasn’t the greatest for film releases, the fact that Clash of the titans made the top 10 grossing films of 2010 backs this up. I enjoyed The girl with the dragon tattoo, the town, kickass and confess to having a soft spot for ironman but was not as enthralled with Inception as I hoped I would be from the reviews it received.

In August I made the trip to inverness to see the Highland Housing Expo. An interesting collection of house designs, some more successful than others. There is so much been written about the expo that whatever I think is probably quite insignificant. I am not sure what it will achieve, I don’t know if the Homes for the future housing on Glasgow green had much influence on future housing design but it did produce some good and mediocre house types.


living area in house designed by Nord

I became a bit disillusioned by social media for a while over 2010 and withdrew from it a bit. I think a lot of people mis-use it and mis-interpret it a lot which can lead to misunderstanding. I tend to keep all the various social media outlets I use separate as some of the issues I discuss are not relevant from one outlet to another. I try to a certain extent to keep what I say on each platform relevant to the people I am connected to and I do not see the use of social media for me a marketing tool although there is sometimes a spin-off benefit of this. Generally when I discuss social media with others they always reply that they don’t have time for it and don’t know how I find the time. I have found though that through my interest in social media I have also developed my I.T. skills to an extent where I now control and update my own websites which I would have thought impossible in the past and which I have also spent a lot of money on previously.

Resolutions for 2011 include improving on the lack of travelling I have done over the past year, entering some larger architectural competitions, getting more of my photographs printed and framed for selling, completing my house designs and submitting for planning and not grumping about being 40 too much although i can’t promise not to at all. I have also been set the challenge of climbing the inaccessible pinnacle in Skye before my birthday which I have accepted enthusiastically! watch this space!

Happy New year All and best wishes for 2011



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1 Response to “my 2010”

  1. January 3, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Congratulations on your accomplishments in 2010! And it also sounds like some of the things that didn’t happen in 2010 may lead to exciting things in 2011.

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