Craig Higgins.jpg

The Alexander Thomson Scholarship 2018

The 2018 Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson Scholarship was awarded following a visioning competition where entrants were asked to imagine Glasgow in 150 years - Glasgow 2168.


Craig Higgins “Look Down”


Nathan Cunningham “Glasgow 2168”

The Glasgow Institute of Architects as trustees for the Alexander Thomson Scholarship invited entries from students of architecture and emerging architects to imagine Glasgow in the year 2168 - 150 years from now. The scholarship was held as part of it’s triennial cycle with the theme relating to the GIA’s 150th anniversary in the year 2018.

After much deliberation the entry titled ‘Look Down’ by Craig Higgins was chosen by the judges to be the winner and the recipient of the Alexander Thomson Scholarship 2018 and the £1000.00 prize.

GIA Guest Judge Toby Patterson commented that the image strongly dealt with the issues of today through the lens of tomorrow, and that “science fiction is always really about the present” with the image conveying how “righteous anger can be turned to positive effect”.

Craig’s accompanying summary explains the issues he feels will be faced by Glasgow in 2168:

“We are often taught that to fully appreciate Glasgow’s architecture and heritage we should take the time to stop and look up, and we do. We look up, we gaze, and we wander with our heads in the clouds, in awe and drift aimlessly.  However, our admiration often turns to worship.  Lessons from the past become dogma, new ideas and thought are stifled when conservation changes to preservation at all costs.  We live and practice in a city where we no longer even look at the homeless sleeping around our feet because our eyes are fixated on the bricks and mortar above us. The tenements that were built to alleviate the conditions of the poorest in society are now preserved for the affluent, while today’s poor make do with cheap imitations. We forget that the buildings we worship were built for and by the people of Glasgow.  We stop dead in our tracks to mourn the loss of a beloved building, and dedicate millions to its restoration, but stride past those in our city who are living in constant need.  I hope in 150 years that we as a profession will have learned once again to stop and look down.”

The Alexander Thomson Scholarship was established upon the Architect’s death in 1875 “for the purpose of providing a travelling scholarship for the furtherance of the study of ancient classic architecture”. In 1890 the winner was a 22 year old architecture student called Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who used his scholarship on a sketching tour of Europe.

A gallery of this years entrants work can be viewed below: