Glasgow Science Centre Outer Space project






Austin-Smith:Lord Ltd
Glasgow Science Centre


Glasgow Science Centre


Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) external spaces offered a renewed experience and legacy for COP26 Green Zone in November 2021.

The project is part of the Connect programme to renovate the Centre's exhibition spaces, improve the visitor experience and support outreach programmes. Funded through the Inspiring Science Fund (a partnership between UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome Trust) and Sustrans Scotland, the project promotes active travel, enhances biodiversity, improves accessibility and encourages interaction with new external science exhibits and interpretation.

We were appointed to engage with GSC's visitors, staff, passers-by, local communities and key stakeholders to help develop the brief, business case and secure Sustrans funding. Our multi-disciplinary project team has collaborated with GSC, Sustrans and local community groups to deliver the first phase in a wider masterplan ambition to transform the surrounding quaysides.

The project aimed to retrofit the external spaces to create positive microclimates and integrate sustainable urban landscape designed to respond to climate and biodiversity emergencies. Car parking spaces have been repurposed to create a new two-way bike lane, along with a cycle park and repair station, to encourage cycling and better connections to the city's active travel networks.

The project has sought to 'green the grey' around GSC and adjacent BBC Scotland headquarters by adopting nature-based solutions. Greenspace has been increased by 35% with the introduction (retention and relocation) of trees, shrubs, species-rich grasses, wildflower planting, and wetland planting in the Glasgow Science Centre moats featuring 15 species of aquatic plants. Plant species diversity was increased by 250% to support local ecology.

Hard landscaping has also included the retention, re-use or repurposing of 70% of existing materials. This includes upcycling existing concrete security bollards with local schools and community groups being invited to 'Make Your Mark' and develop creative designs around the theme of 'Connection'.

The central feature of 'Outer Space' is the Fibonacci Garden, which sweeps around to convey visitors to the Science Mall and IMAX entrances. Inspired by the Fibonacci shape sequence observed in nature, it creates a social, community and events space for people to relax, interact and play with the external science exhibits. In the first weeks of opening, the space has come alive with local people hanging out, playing, making music, enjoying yoga and tai chi, BMX-ing and skateboarding, and even hosting dog obedience classes.



HawkAye Scotland and Paul Upward Photography