Gaia Architects

Radical Eco-design – Earth Air Fire and Water

Drumchapel Sports and Environmental Interpretation Centre

Client: SportScotland, Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Council, 1992-95 and 2000-03

Gaia were approached to undertake studies for a proposed Sports and Sustainability Centre in Drumchapel, Glasgow. The brief asked for a building that would improve the appreciation of the environment both locally and globally, whilst providing health and recreational facilities.

The original design of the Interpretation Centre was a reflection and demonstration of the four elements - earth, air, fire and water. It started out as a pilot venture for many innovative aspects of sustainable low impact construction. The materials were to be primarily natural – i.e. Roundpole and Rammed Earth. The walls utilised earth blocks from soil sourced locally, while the roof structure used 'green' timber poles used in the round. The ventilation was a combination of Dynamic Insulation and natural ventilation. The water strategy was based on rainwater harvesting and the energy sources were all based around renewables.


The funding for the project took a long time to obtain and it was a decade later that the building was completed to a design by the late and very great Eimear Kelt and her colleagues in Glasgow City Architects department. It is assertively daylit and this pioneered a drive by SportScotland to incorporate a greater amount of natural light into Sports buildings (a study on this was completed by Gaia Research in 2005). Gaia Architects advised on the heating and ventilation strategy, the Dynamic Insulation, the culvert pre-heat and pre-cooling system, the choice of materials and the water conservation strategy.


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