Clydebank’s history, industrial past and natural landscape, along the edge of the eponymous river, are all celebrated in the artwork and design of the area’s outstanding new £21 million health and care centre.
With references to the women who traced the drawings made by draughtsmen building ships, to the Bankie Trek that leads from the town to the hills, and the area’s post-industrial recovery, the design and art work connects the facility to the community it serves.
Jackie Sands, Health Improvement Senior for Arts and Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, supported the Health and Social Care Partnership’s arts and environment strategy group with the commissioning of the integrated works.
She said: “We wanted to create an environment that is welcoming, therapeutic and connected to its unique locality and community.
“Clydebank was a key player in the ‘workshop of the world’ during the era of heavy industry. It developed a reputation across the world for its creativity and skill, and as a benchmark of design quality known as ‘Clydebuilt’. Skill and creativity is central to the town’s history and heritage.
“We wanted to celebrate that within the art and design approach for the centre, telling the story of a thriving community, located in a beautiful part of the world and the people who make up its past, present and future.”
The team worked with local residents, commissioned artists including designers Bespoke Atelier, Jim Buchanan, Ginkgo, local museum and heritage partners, and local Cultural Geographer, Ruth Olden, to share and learn about the history and changing shape of Clydebank.
The finished art can be seen on the incredible wrought iron gates, the impressive reception desk and replicating the work of the female tracers, who worked solely with ink and linen cloth, further works, all on linen based framed designs for the health centre waiting areas. The artworks are 46 inches wide – replicating the width of the works of the tracers.
Liz Kerr, Business Manager at West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “It has been a great experience collaborating with the arts team. We are delighted to incorporate the poignant stories of “old” Clydebank and bring them to life in a modern way within our state of the art building. The colour palettes used also give a nod to the GP practice names which I and my colleagues appreciate.
“Our glass corridors allow staff and visitors passing through the building the opportunity to see colour and art looking across the courtyard. It really is the finishing touch to the building. Whilst my priority has always been functionality, I have always recognised the impact that our art will have on the mood and wellbeing of those visiting the centre. I particularly enjoyed taking part in the workshops and involving our own staff in the design process. It gives the team a sense of ownership and pride in their workplace.”
Iain Marley, Chief Executive of development partners, Hub West Scotland, said: “The new Clydebank Health and Care Centre has been warmly welcomed as an important and high quality addition to the Clydebank community. The quality of its design has rightly been recognised and the art strategy is a key part of that success. Early engagement with artists and stakeholders brings forward ideas that are integrated with the architectural design to create a wonderful fusion of stories from the past and contemporary design that enrich the experience of the building for patients, staff and visitors.”
Jackie added: “I hope that the stories gathered to inform the integrated art, architecture and landscape strategy in the new health and care centre, and the forthcoming exhibition and new Clydebank home wear collection developed as part of this process during a Makers and Menders Artist residency will add to the heritage of the area; a story of creativity, enjoyment of landscape and productivity being central to wellbeing, purpose and identity.
“I really hope that patients, visitors and staff enjoy engaging with Clydebank through the artworks and that the art and design elements help to provide comfort and inspiration contributing to feelings of pride in Clydebank.”
The scheme was supported by Creative Scotland, The Green Exercise Partnership, The Arts and Humanities Research Council and West Dunbartonshire HSCP Endowment Funding.