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Thistle Foundation, Edinburgh.

August 2, 2015

I’m working on an architecture related project at the Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, from July 2015 until January 2016.  I go there one day a week and spend most of the time outside – making observational drawings.

Thistle Foundation is a charity supporting people with disabilities and health conditions, originally established in 1944 to provide housing for disabled WW2 veterans.  The houses form an estate – mostly enclosed by a perimeter hedge – which was designed to allow disabled veterans and their families to live together.   Large areas of the estate have remained relatively unchanged since the 1940s.  I am interested in the relationship between the remaining original architecture and the new building developments which are taking place in and around the estate.  I am particularly interested in the area around the bowling green and Robin Chapel, which forms a sort of focal point within the estate.  Until recently, the bowling green had been in use since the 1940s but the Thistle Bowling Club finally disbanded in 2015 and the future of the green is uncertain.

The drawing process will kickstart ideas – through my looking at the buildings and layout of the place in relation to how it is used.  I also have access to the Thistle archive which will help feed into the work.

http://www.edinburgharchitecture.co.uk/thistle-foundation

http://www.thistle.org.uk/about-us/history

April, 2016.                                                                                                                Hoping to collate everything soon.  Ideas for permanent works in the new Thistle centre (due to open in June, 2016).  I’m working on a book of drawings and words gathered during the residency.  Also a short film from all the video footage that I’ve gathered.  And these engraved tiles (Photoshop visualisations below).  A4 size, 7mm thick, plaster resin panels with drawings laser cut into them.  The drawings are from a small notebook that I sketched in whilst exploring the areas immediately around Thistle during my residency – particularly the semi wasteland of Greendykes.  I was interested in Thistle’s perimeter hedge and how it created a feeling of the estate as being a safe haven within it.  I also thought about the historical relationship between the Thistle estate and the nearby housing schemes, many of which have since been demolished.  As the areas around Thistle are currently being redeveloped, I hope that my drawings will be a reminder of the history of those surrounding areas and of the houses and communities that were formerly there.  The tiles are a reference to the inscribed stone panels which adorn many of the Thistle houses.  They also look a bit like foundation stones – for a new building.

Looking across Greendykes, from a point near Matthew Street.1. Greendykes wasteland view from nr Matthew St

View along Greendykes Road, showing Thistle’s perimeter hedge.2. Thistle hedge, Greendykes Rd

Remains of defunct electricity box in Greendykes, in overgrown land near Tudsberry Avenue.Old electricity box in Greendykes wasteland nr Tudsbery Ave

Below – Various views from the Chapel tower.  ipad.Green_Lines_2.12.15-copyHouse_Details_2.12.15-copyPaths_2.12.15-copyChimney_2.12.15-copyBelow – Various architectural studies.  Pen in A6 sketch pad. 4_11_a4_11_b4_11_c4_11_d4_11_e4_11_f11_11_a11_11_b11_11_c11th November, 2015.  Apple tree behind Wighton House.IMG_20151111_121735749Below – More studies of old and new buildings.  Coloured pencil on A4 paper.Col-Pencil1Col-Pencil2Col-Pencil3Col-Pencil4Various views.  Felt tip pen on A4 coloured paper.PinkRedPurpleDk BlueL BlueBrownCream

A walk from Chapel Court to Harewood Road – stopping every 90 paces to sketch.F90-P-1F90-P-2F90-P-3From enclosed, post-war estate… F90-P-4F90-P-5to site of vanished 1930s council housing scheme… F90-P-6 F90-P-7F90-P-8to reconfigured 1930s school building and 21st century flat blocks.F90-P-9

The hedge runs around the perimeter of the estate.Hedge

Bowling green, no longer in use but still regularly mown.  Various views – ipad.Green_9.10.15B.G._hedge_29.9.15Bowl_view_10.9.15Green_view_10.9.15_More bowling green views – Felt tip pen on A4 cartridge paper.10.9.15_410.9.15_5While I was sketching, Ann from no. 8 made me a cup of coffee and gave me a KitKat.10.9.15_110.9.15_3I chatted with Davy the Gardener, who let me film him mowing the bowling green.10.9.15_2Guided tour from Tam the caretaker- looking at how the estate boundary has changed in recent years.  The hedge, which used to completely encircle the place, is still there but has been partly replaced by new housing.  Drawings of Wighton House (below).Wighton2_30.9.15Wighton_30.9.157.9.15 (Below)  Studies of the Thistle buildings.  Felt tip pen on A4 paper.5.8.15_15.8.15_25.8.15_35.8.15_426.8.15_126.8.15_226.8.15 (Below) More aerial studies of houses and covered walkway, as seen from high up in the Robin Chapel tower, done on the ipad. Crescent_26.8.15Walkway_26.8.1511_QW_26.8.1511_Queen's_Walk_26.8.1510_QW_Porch_26.8.1519.8.15  (Below)  Study of a house in Queen’s Walk.  ipad drawing.  I’ve been doing a lot of aerial perspective drawings from the Chapel tower.  It’s a good vantage point.  Fence_19.8.15

12.8.15  (Below)  Detail of covered walkway, as seen from the Robin Chapel tower.  ipad drawing.  The covered walkways were an integral part of the original 1940’s layout and, until recently, snaked their way all over the estate, allowing people to travel around under a sprawling shelter.  For various reasons, most of the covered walkways had to be removed recently.12.8.15a

12.8.15 (Below)  Aerial study of a porch.  ipad drawing.Porch_12.8.15b

Photographs and plans from Thistle Foundation archive.IMG_20150723_143952248IMG_20150723_133420835IMG_20150723_145101544IMG_20150723_144442707

Photographs by Ally Wallace – 30/7/15.IMG_20150730_133940671IMG_20150730_134317562IMG_20150730_133956357IMG_20150730_145654219IMG_20150730_155607638

The first day of drawing – 30/7/15.PicMix

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