A COLOURFUL public artwork has been created under the motorway at Anderston Station ahead of the COP26 climate change conference.
The temporary work aims to improve pedestrian and cyclist wayfinding, revitalise the public space, and provide dynamic art for residents and visitors to enjoy.
The design team led by Civic Engineers and designer Gabriella Marcella have worked to improve the site which is on one of the main walking/cycling routes between the city centre and the COP26 venues.
Marcella’s striking artwork, titled “Water Works,” is painted on the ground and columns outside the entrance to Anderston Station below the M8 underpass.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is collaborating with Glasgow City Council as host of the conference to help deliver a legacy for the city and its residents, starting with the Asphalt Art installation.
Glasgow joins a select group of international cities supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies to transform and revitalise public spaces through the power of art.
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative is responding to the growing number of cities around the world embracing art as an effective and relatively low-cost strategy to activate their streets, with interventions on plazas and pavements, crossings and intersections, and other transportation infrastructure.
The grant programme is designed not just to improve street safety and create vibrant public spaces, but also to build city capacity for working with artists and community groups on projects involving transportation infrastructure.
The Anderston design was inspired by environmental challenges the city faces with excessive rain and water run-off.
The mural will be accompanied by the introduction of benches and an experimental raingarden — a garden of native shrubs planted in a small depression, providing additional biodiversity and a greater sense of place to city centre streetscapes.
The raingarden will be an attractive, low-maintenance way to reduce flood risk and treat surface water run-off from the nearby M8.
Deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor David McDonald, said: “The council has been delighted to partner with the prestigious Bloomberg Philanthropies on our journey towards COP26. We’ve engaged in a range of discussions on areas of shared interest about the environment, arts and culture, and community involvement.
“The climate emergency is an issue that can no longer be ignored and, whilst nation states will pledge in November, it is cities like Glasgow which will deliver. This innovative Asphalt Art installation will hopefully encourage conversations around the design of our cities and ways in which we can work together to reach net-zero by 2030.
“There are other projects underway which will be revealed soon, with Glasgow also benefitting from connecting with some of the world’s biggest cities in the run up to and during COP through the C40 network, of which Michael Bloomberg is president.
“This partnership work is a direct benefit of our host city role and is already delivering a legacy for Glasgow and Glaswegians.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies said: “Asphalt Art Projects can help cities rebuild from the pandemic by reinvigorating streets and making them safer, while also lifting spirits.
“As we’ve seen through our work in cities around the world, vibrant public artwork and smarter street design can inspire residents, build relationships between artists and the community, and help cities recover stronger than before.”
Designer Gabriella Marcella said: “I’m delighted that the project is in its final stages, and the public have been able to see our work progress in real-time. It’s been a challenging site to work across, but the giant graphics and colour have prevailed!
“I hope the finished work brings a smile to people’s faces as they pass by, and encourages thoughts around water, and how we might rethink our relationship to it in our wonderful, and sometimes rainy, city!”
Isla Jackson, director, Civic Engineers said: “This fantastic project helps to make this area a more inclusive, more climate resilient, safer place. It is a great example of true collaboration with the community and across industries, with everyone’s contributions focused on improving connectivity between the west end and the centre and ultimately helping to make our city healthier and more attractive.”