The work of Gareth Hoskins Architects is celebrated in the first of a series exploring architectural practices at the Lighthouse, as David Pollock discovers
'The Lighthouse Architecture Series is a new five-year series celebrating a range of Scottish architectural practices, which have delivered nationally, and now deserve recognition in the international market,' says Leonie Bell, programme director at Glasgow's Lighthouse. 'Gareth Hoskins will be the first of these, simply because we feel he runs one of the most ambitious practices in Scotland.'
As Hoskins' practice is celebrating its tenth anniversary, this show documents a rapidly-developing firm which has existed only a little longer than its association with the Lighthouse. Born in 1968 in Edinburgh and educated at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Hoskins was an associate at London architects Penoyre and Prasad during the 90s, before returning to Glasgow in 1998. One year later, while Glasgow was UK City of Architecture and Design, Hoskins designed the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre for the newly-built Lighthouse.
Having started out with a three-strong workforce the firm now employs 35 people, and has participated in some of Scotland and the UK's most ambitious projects. 'Their most recent project is the Culloden Visitor Centre for the National Trust,' says Bell. 'They're also working on the National Museum of Scotland's 15-year masterplan to redevelop the building and its surroundings, and on a key new development in St Andrew's Square. Within the context of Edinburgh, to be working on two significant projects really is amazing for a young practice.'
The practice also designed 'A Gathering Space', the Scottish contribution to the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale, which opens this month. As the (anonymous) competition that secured this commission was organised through the Lighthouse, Bell describes it as 'serendipitous' that GHA should be unveiling the new design as this exhibition opens. 'It's an enormous wooden staircase for the piazza outside the train station (Stazione Santa Lucia), which creates a whole new public space for people to interact with,' says Bell.
In addition to a new monograph published exclusively as part of this series, the exhibition will feature plans, models, photography and a series of four films by Gavin Turnbull, each of which highlights an individual work. The show is also split into five distinct sections, designed to illustrate the expanse of the practice's experience. These elaborate on GHA's work on medium-sized projects within and on the outskirts of cities, in rural areas, within established structures and on larger urban scales, describing a close-run competition entry for the Glasgow Transport Museum, completed work on Glasgow's Bridge Arts Centre and a competition-winning redesign of the Architecture Galleries at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
'Our aim is to engage the public with architecture and to nurture the profession,' says Bell, who will oversee the show's transfer to London in early 2009. 'At the end of the five years we hope to have a series of books which will accurately reflect contemporary architecture in Scotland, but will last as a resource for much longer.'
The Lighthouse Architecture Series: Gareth Hoskins Architects, the Lighthouse, Glasgow, Fri 12 Sep-Sun 2 Nov.