Scottish Canals, The Bowline

The client brief provided Four-by-Two with a clean-cut proposition:

With ambitious plans to create a new linear park at the western gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal, inspired by New York City’s Highline, Scottish Canals will transform a 120-year-old disused railway bridge at Bowling Harbour into a fully accessible linear path and cycle route. A new identity will be required that helps sell the out-of-town coolness.

The western gateway to the Forth & Clyde Canal begins at Bowling on the River Clyde, from where it crosses central Scotland to the Firth of Forth in the east.

Constructed in 1896, in response to the Scottish Industrial Revolution’s demand for new and quicker ways to transport coal and other materials across the country and to global markets, Bowling Harbour’s viaduct swing bridge originally carried the Caledonian and Dunbartonshire Railway over the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Following the closure of the canal in 1963, followed by the railway a year later, Bowling Harbour fell into disrepair, this once vibrant industrial area now silent.

Heritage images, courtesy of: dalmadan.com and the Caledonian Railway Association

With this in mind and taking inspiration from the heritage of the rail track, its architecture and the Caledonian Railway locomotives that ran along the goods line, we created a unique, simple and highly recognisable identity for The Bowline, which now forms a direct link between Glasgow and Loch Lomond following the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Image above: keithhunterphotography.com

To celebrate the heritage and natural environment at Bowling Harbour and The Bowline, Four-by-Two worked closely with lead landscape architects rankinfraser to develop a broad range of interpretations and a wayfinding strategy that seamlessly integrates with the holistic design vision for the iconic swing bridge and wider estate. We also collaborated with railway and heritage groups to bring the stories and tales of this meeting point of ‘The Highways of the World’ to life.

The minimal colour palette, together with the design of the coated steel structures, provide a classic, elegant response, elevating and promoting the public realm and history of the harbour, contributing to the transformation of Scotland’s canal network into vibrant traffic-free spaces for leisure and recreation, and important tourism destinations.

Image below: sandground.co.uk

“The project promotes a sense of place, connects communities
and celebrates the history of the area”.

Craig McIntyre, Four-by-Two

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