Glasgow Garden Festival 1988
Glasgow Garden Festival stemmed from a proposal for a new urban park to be built from scratch on a 100-acre site on a former industrial quayside and shipyard. The winning proposal was selected from three bids submitted for consideration, announced in October 1984 and scheduled for launch in 1988.
The original bid was initially set for delivery for 1989, but the department for the environment moved the launch date forward by twelve months to sit within the two-year interval between each of the five National Garden Festivals.
‘Since Liverpool in 1984 and Stoke in 1986, the visual arts have played an important part in garden festivals. It has been the aim of the Glasgow Garden Festival to similarly bring an exciting collection of works by contemporary artists to integrate with the 100 acres of gardens and landscaping of the site.’
The senior design consultants on the project were Gillespies and Partners of Glasgow. George Mulvagh of Gillespies was appointed the senior architect for the site. George Mulvagh was mindful of the relatively short period involved in totally re-landscaping the former industrial site.
It was clear that given its location within the surrounding urban street plan, their response should be about creating an urban park that would include an imaginative treatment of the exposed southern bank of the River Clyde.
Restoration of the quayside opened up the potential for the visual art programme to be set in and on the river, as well as defining a significant amount of newly reclaimed green space. And while the visual arts content of the garden festival was not conceived until 1986, once Isabel Vasseur had been appointed the commissioning process moved along at a pace, aided by Julia Radcliffe.
‘There is nothing new about artists’ involvement in landscape and garden design… However since 1945, with the revelation of the work of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, it was realised that there existed a new demand for three-dimensional work to be placed in parks and open spaces.’