LATERAL NORTH is a research and design collective based in Glasgow, Scotland run by Graham Hogg and Tom Smith. Here they tell us a bit more about how they got together and the kind of work they do.
LATERAL NORTH looks to investigate Scotland’s new place and identity within an economically emerging northern region; exploring the relationship between people, culture, places, industries and economies.
With a shift in approach and traditional ideology, LATERAL NORTH engages in cross-sectoral, multidisciplinary design and research. This collaboration allows discovery, investigation and testing of previously over-looked opportunities and engage people in long-term, strategic, holistic visioning.
Our integrated design approach involves extended engagement alongside creative professionals and attempts to deliver a competent design resolution for projects ranging from historic site conservation and community trust developments to exhibition and graphic design.
LATERAL NORTH began life at Strathclyde University. Finishing our architectural education we decided that rather than go the traditional route of working for a practice we wanted to try to start up our own practice and build on the work we had undertaken through our fifth year at university – imagining a future Scotland that orientates itself north.
Our first major project was to produce An Atlas of Productivity which followed on from our New Northern Frontiers project at university. We have since produced and sold 500 copies of this and are currently working on a softback copy of the atlas. The atlas gained us a lot of new followers and allowed us to showcase the visioning work that we could do having undertaken well over 50 presentations in the last two years.
It was at this juncture that we began to work alongside communities throughout Scotland with most, at first, being found within rural and remote locations. Our current projects though include a community master plan and visioning exercise with the Stirlingshire community of Fintry, designing a past / present / future publication for Rutherglen and Cambuslang based Bike Town which details future visions for getting everyone cycling, a wayfinding project for Dumfries with the Stove Network and many other similar community orientated projects.
Our practice is constantly looking to work with different individuals, organisations and communities on a series of different projects and challenge what it is that architects do. Our multidisciplinary approach has led us into recent discussions with universities about 3D interfaces and how our work can be viewed in virtual landscapes, designing exhibitions on Scotland’s relationship with the Nordics and finding out about food security and a sustainable food network within Scotland (and its relationship to architecture), for example.
This exploratory approach means that there is no day that is the same – our work constantly changes with our network of collaborators increasing each day. It’s exciting, different and interesting, and useful to us as we continue to learn new skills, techniques and technologies.
One of the most exciting projects that we are currently developing though is our Possible Scotland project which is a collaboration between ourselves, Glasgow based author Sue Reid Sexton and Helmsdale based cultural and heritage centre Timespan. For part of the time we share an office with Dualchas Architects in Glasgow Green (see image above) while the rest of the time is spent working mobile from our Possible Scotland travelling workshop (images below). The project is in its early days and we are intending to travel throughout Scotland over the course of the summer hosting workshops on everything from creative writing to architectural solutions to design opportunities. We are actively seeking organisations and communities to contact us about coming to visit them and host a workshop finding out what possibilities they have in their back garden, street, community, town and country.
We hope to continue undertaking exciting projects throughout Scotland and also further afield as we take a keen interest in developments within the Nordic and (in particular) Arctic region.
Our practice wouldn’t be here though without a plethora of individuals who have supported us through starting up our collective over the last year and a half. In particular though we want to just take this opportunity here to thank Alex Hobday, Catriona Macdonald, David Hasson, Ewan Imrie, Lizzie Smith and Ulrike Enslein who have been a huge support in our start up.