Chez Etym.: site (n.) was an exhibition and panel discussion in Glasgow, hosted as part of the 2018 Architecture Fringe Open Programme. An endeavour to explore the themes of Chez Etym. in an engaged and direct manner, site (n.) explored the phenomena of place and memory and their intersection with the contemporary urban fabric. This exploration was founded on the principle of the Etymology of Place, born from parallels between the etymology of the word ‘site’ and three distinct facets signified within Chez Etym.’s subjects of concern. These parallels revealed the etymons of place, viewed not only as derivatives but as ‘strata’ which forever build and solidify time: sinere, the Layer of Landscape; situs, the Urban Layer; and si-tu-, the Cultural Layer. These constituents are fundamentally linked and by nature inseparable, however each hold a unique relevancy and set of concerns when considering the places in which we live.

The panel discussion employed Glasgow’s Southside as a thematic catalyst, discussing the subject with consideration for local geography and its heritage, culture, and identity. In three parts, focus shifted between three conversational anchors, which in succession considering each of the three layers of the Etymology of Place:
  • The Burrell Collection / the Layer of Landscape, a building holding a unique position in Glasgow's architectural psyche, and a considered abstraction of the local landscape in form and programme;
  • Tradeston-Laurieston and the South Clyde / the Urban Layer, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the areas' (post-)industrial nature and the memory held within their architecture; and,
  • Govanhill / the Cultural Layer, as an exemplar of the contemporary relationships between cultural diversity and pluralistic integration within the Urban Layer and the relevance of Glasgow’s tenement archetype.

Alongside the discussion, the exhibition strengthened themes touched on in the conversation and explored ideas further afield. Work was presented from a diverse set of architects, designers and artists from Scotland, England, Norway, Italy and Australia.

The speakers on the panel were:
Lee Ivett, Director of Baxendale
Paul Stallan, Design Director of Stallan-Brand
Fatima Uygun, Trust Manager of the Govanhill Baths
Isabel Deakin, Co-Founder of Missing in Architecture.

The exhibitiors featured were:
Hanne Lillee, Calum Wallis, Giulia Gentili & Alastair Jackson (Scotland);
Holly Gavin & Thom Walker (England);
Studio Positions (Norway);
Paesaggi Migranti / Migrant Landscapes (Italy); and,
Nicholas Brocchi (Australia). 

Images below.
site (n.) "place or position occupied by something," late 14c., from Anglo-French site, Old French site "place, site; position," from Latin situs "a place, position, situation, location, station; idleness, sloth, inactivity; forgetfulness; the effects of neglect," from past participle of sinere "let, leave alone, permit," from Proto-Indo-European si-tu-, from root tkei- "to settle, dwell, be home."*

site (n.) was kindly supported by Stitch Architects, hosted at The Garment Factory, with select photography by Jessica Newell.


*Online Etymology Dictionary. 2018. “site | Origin and meaning of site by Online Etymology Dictionary.” https://www.etymonline.com/word/site.