The Scottish Government Charrette Mainstreaming programme for 2013-14 included charrettes by Scottish Canals in 3 different locations, and KMA were involved in all three. At Bowling Basin, KMA were the charrette facilitators and reporters as part of a team comprising Michael Laird Architects, Rankin Fraser Landscape Architects, Arup and RSP.
The charrette was held in two stages, the first in mid-February. The local community were central to the process and, as the first stage unfolded, there were reservations from some at the prospect of major change or development on the site, while others regarded it as necessary investment in order to move the place forward from a long period of negligible investment. The design team worked really creatively with the community, illustrating what different levels of development might look like and the level of impact there might be. The live design element of the charrette served its function as a form of open, visual mediation.
The stage 2 event held in mid-March presented the work that the design team had completed in the interim period. Members of the community, including boat and canal users had the opportunity to view the different options and provide feedback. While there were still mixed feelings about any new development, the drawing work that had been done in the interim period showed that change and development could be more contextual, and less dominating, than some had feared. This was achieved through careful consideration of scale, design and the limits to the extent of development established during the first stage of the charrette.
The report and design work from the event is available on a dedicated Bowling Basin website, set up by Scottish Canals here.