Gala Design Hub


Vasuta  Chan
Ruyi  Shen


The Scottish Borders is in a key location for Scotland’s central belt and the North of England. Galashiels is truly located on the excellent position (Figure 1). In addition, higher education is available locally at Heriot Watt University’s Scottish School of Textiles and Design. Our project was started at the social and economic approaches; environmental impact is the following up idea which will be considered. These are all three main sustainable strategies for Galashiels.


Figure 1:  Galashiels is in a good location which can connect between Edinburgh and the north of England

“The purpose of the project is to increase the job opportunities for graduated students, designers, artists and also for working age people who intend to raise their skills for responding the demand from existing employers in the city and extend to global scale.”

The Issue

Galashiels is in a rural economy and lacks many of the characteristics associated with a competitive economy of high skills, high value jobs. Within this there is a balance between the ‘skills’ demanded by employers, and the qualification demanded by learners. These two demands are not always easy to meet. Thus, there is relatively effect in economic growth which results in poverty among people.

GAFS_Workshop Issue

Figure 2:  The issue card from the workshop

First and foremost, according to Mr. John Gray in the workshop, he showed an opinion about job opportunity in Galashiels. Textile and Design have been taught to students at Heriot Watt University. Nevertheless, after they graduated, most of them had to find job in other cities because there is a lack of job opportunity in Galashiels.

GAFS_Working Age PopulationFigure 3:  Population by age

The line graph shows the population by single year of age. Interestingly, there is a huge gap in teenager and working age (17-35) between Scotland and Scottish Boarders. This data supports the fact that people move out to work outside. Many people commute out the area to work, primarily to Edinburgh labour markets. Therefore, it can be seen that the issue from research and workshop are related.


Figure 4:  The facilities at Heriot Watt University, school of textile and design

Secondly, it could be said that the lack of facilities might differentiate the job opportunity. If we look at the period when students were studying at university, they were able to access outstanding equipment and accessories, which utilised from initial design to production stage. Their facilities range from craft through industrial to cutting-edge advanced technologies and are used for education, consultancy and research. After they graduated, however, it is not easy to access such facilities.

To sum up, textile industry has the potential for being the solution of economic growth in Galashiels. Education in textile and design has already provided, but afterwards how do we support and promote the products into a bigger scale market, and also creating the job opportunity for young-blood designers is the crucial question.

The Proposal

First of all, due to the upcoming railway station, we personally believe that the number of visitors would be increased and this is a great opportunity for local business. On the one hand, business needs to leverage their resources and extend the target-group. On the other hand, student’s skills and local knowledge should be increasingly promoted to public. These would enable public understanding the identity of Galashiels. No doubt that textile is a valued knowledge.

Secondly, “How do we support and promote the products into public, and also creating the job opportunity for young designers?” here is the key we will work on. To do so, we assume that there should be some places for supporting the production, storage, display and delivery stages.

There are 4 main purposes of this place.

  1. Advocate for a greater understanding of the value of textile; in the same time celebrate and enhance the value of design.
  2. Inspire designers and the public; make powerful tools and facilities available and accessible.
  3. Enhance professional development; define global standards and practices; mobilises a global design movement.
  4. Extend the target-group by the benefit of digital era; products, local knowledge and city heritage could be simultaneously strengthened by the digital economy strategy.

digital diagram4

 Figure 5:  Digital trading network 

Finally, it can be seen that digital economy can bring benefits to vary groups of people (Figure 5). Nowadays, data and information have been put into the cloud server (online); customers can access information any where and any time.

We would like to show the scenario (Figure 6). For instance, everyone in UK or around the world, who interested in fashion design, can access information and see the products online. Then, they could order online. In the bigger scale for business man who wants to purchase massive orders, they could come and see the potentiality of Galashiels or have a video conference to negotiate the business.

GAFS_gala world

Figure 6:  The example scenario shows the benefit of digital economy

To conclude
1. Railway station would bring many visitors coming to city, so we would like to increase labour skill and promote local knowledge.
2. We believe that there should be some places to promote local designer’s work, and also serve all necessary facilities for entire stage of textile industry.
3. Extend the target group from local to global scale by the advantage of digital economy.

Case Study
1. Linked Hybrid

GAFS_link hybrid connect

 Figure 7:  Sky pedestrian of the Linked Hybrid, Steven Holl

Linked Hybrid has been selected as a case study because there is the remarkable pedestrian which linking the complex function (Figure 7). We are interested about how does multi-function connect to each unit, although the project is not directly related to our project in terms of using function.

The project aims to counter the current urban developments in Beijing by creating a new twenty-first century porous urban space, inviting and open to the public from every side. The architect also promotes interactive relations and encourages encounters in the public spaces that vary from commercial, residential, and educational to recreational.

GAFS_case study1

Figure 8:Emphasise the building as one unit             Figure 9:Diagrams show the advantages of the pedestrian

We are looking at each building as one unit of function (Figure 8), and the benefit of connection on each unit affects human and activity flow. As we can see from figure 9, if there is no sky walking (yellow line), people from the upper part of the building are not able to go directly to the adjacent building (red line). The main activities of space arrange in the air, to transfer the activities from the ground to the air. The corridors connect the functions in the sky, residents and visitors can easily reach each destination (Figure 10).

GAFS_case study12

Figure 10:  Floor plan of the Linked Hybrid, Steven Holl

2. Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC)

TCDC aims to be a place for designers, students, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts in design and creativity to develop and expand their knowledge and skills as well as to help strengthen capability and competitiveness of Thai designers in a global market place.

TCDC service :

  1. TCDC Resource Centre
  2. Material ConneXion (over 7,000 material database and 250 rotating samples)
  3. Design and Educational Exhibitions (Figure 11)
  4. Creative Showcase
  5. Design Consulting Services and Strategic Business Planning

GAFS_TCDC showcase

Figure 11: Design and Educational Exhibitions and working space for young designers

TCDC has been selected as a case study for our place and program. As we can see, the program is very similar with our ambitious; in terms of developing individual skills and extending market into an international scale.


Figure 12: TCDC’s location is in the CBD

Interestingly, they are settled in the Emporium Shopping Centre (the luxury department store), which is in the centre business district; and the most important is that the shopping centre is connected with the Bangkok Skytrain so it is very convenient for transportation (Figure 12).

GAFS_TCDC online market

Figure 13: Online marketplace

Lastly, the digital strategy has been used to promote the products which designed by young designers (Figure 13). There is an online marketplace so people can see the products and purchase from anywhere and anytime.

To summarise, the Linked Hybrid emphasises the architectural solution that can add design value into the project, and also creating the landmark if we look at the urban scale. TCDC shows the relations of project and user behaviours.

The Location

We set 5 main criteria to choose location.

  1. Perhaps/should show the relation between university and city. (Knowledge and business)
  2. Perhaps/should not far from railway station. Ease of access. (Walking duration)
  3. Perhaps/should merge with the local business. (Coffee Shop, local restaurant or main activity in city centre)
  4. Perhaps/should add the value to some existing buildings which has been ignored. (2nd floor) but also need to have enough open/outdoor area for the storage and delivery.
  5. Perhaps/should connect to the delivery process. (Probably post office)

GAFS_location (1)

 Figure 14: Diagram shows the criteria no.1 and no.5

The project is aiming at the knowledge and business approach, so we look at the location between city centre and university area. These two areas could be the magnetic area in Galashiels, which support and drive the city direction (Figure 14). Both zones have post offices in the area.


Figure 15: Diagram shows the criteria no.2, no.3  and no.4

It can be seen that in the city centre still has enough empty space and not far from the upcoming railway station, because walking duration is one of the points we concerned. In addition, many attractive coffee shops and local restaurants are located in the city centre, from this point we could combine the character of local business with our new project, so both of them would support each other.


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