Bowling Harbour Viaduct – A Year of Coasts and Waters Case Study

Submitted by RankinFraser

Client: Scottish Canals with Sustrans and West Dunbartonshire Council

The proposed Bowling Viaduct regeneration project represents a significant investment in public space, green infrastructure and tourist facilities by Scottish Canals, Sustrans and West Dunbartonshire Council. The viaduct forms part of the disused Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire Railway line that spans the Forth and Clyde Canal, the current rail line to Balloch and the A814 Dumbarton Road, and overlooks the western termination of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

This project will see the viaduct opened to the public for the first time including the creation of a new section of National Cycle Route 7, part of the famous Sea to Sea Cycle Route, linking Glasgow to Loch Lomond.

The client brief identified the need for improved access for all from the canal towpath, existing cycle route and Bowling Basin to the viaduct, improved lighting and the creation of a series of architectural interventions to animate the various sections of the viaduct, with the main focus being on the interface between the Swing Bridge over the canal.

The design proposal seeks to reveal and enhance both the structure itself through carefully inserted interventions; and the wider landscape that can be viewed from this location via elevated viewpoints and viewing structures.

The major interventions are conceived of as several large-scale, objects inserted into key points in the landscape to enable the movement of people onto the viaduct and bridges, and then up to viewing platforms to gain views across the Firth of Clyde. This references the insertion of the original steel bridge structures to form a continuous rail line. These features incorporate historical interpretative signage marking locations of former industrial features, along with clues to encourage exploration and discovery of the viaduct’s surroundings. Block planting of young Birch trees reference the site’s period of dereliction and signifies the client’s ambition to breathe new regenerative life into the place.

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