Glenrothes New Town, Photo, Scottish Architecture Exhibition, Artist, News, Images

Glenrothes New Town : Building Photos

Fife Building Photographs by Sylvia Grace Borda, east-central Scotland

20 Jun 2008

Glenrothes Exhibition

‘A Holiday in Glenrothes’ Exhibition at The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
15 Rutland Square, Edinburgh, Scotland

Exhibition dates: 5 Jul – 1 Aug 2008

Glenrothes New Town Fife building landscape
photograph : Sylvia Grace Borda

In a new photographic series celebrating Glenrothes, Canadian artist Sylvia Grace Borda produces a visual ode to this former Scottish new Town. Looking at the town’s garden city status and the location as a significant point for Modernist public art delivery in Scotland – the artist ventures into a place where no one without relatives or a personal connection to the place would likely vacation or visit.

Glenrothes Tree Glenrothes Buildings
photographs : Sylvia Grace Borda

New Towns were considered cities for the future, liberators of the past, and ready to serve the needs of the citizen. The commissioning of a New Town artist was envisioned as a way to complete the beautification and integrity of the townscape. Importantly, Glenrothes was the first New Town in Scotland to employ a dedicated artist as part of its urban planning and civic development scheme.

In Glenrothes, the legacies of sculptural intervention have been similarly complemented by the amount of available green space; hence the town’s longstanding status as a garden city. Since its inception, the town has been continually landscaped and, as a result, buildings often appear as though they reside within a park rather than in an urban city.

For the realisation of this project, Sylvia has endeavoured to create both what she calls ‘urban archaeology’ à the creations of both a photo archive and a conceptual artwork of the Glenrothes urbanscape. In the production of the artwork, the juxtaposition of ‘ordinary’ images of landscape and objects regularly decontextualise the geography so a viewer might read the pictures in relation to colour, form, and composition; however, the images are themselves actual representations of a specific location.

Influenced by the work of photographers Stephen Shore, Geoffrey James, Lewis Baltz and William Egggleston, the suburban attributes of Glenrothes have become part of an interplay between the familiar and the uncommon.

This duality in the photographic work is intended to challenge the viewer’s response. Is it possible to see beauty in a New Town? A place to visit or to avoid? Indeed, the artist decided to ‘holiday’ in Glenrothes to inform the work, and each day she chose an area to document in detail.

The focus of the photographic series is also effectively timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Glenrothes (1948-2008), and during a period when many of the public areas of the Town are undergoing redevelopment.

Hence the resulting artwork and the photo archive together comprise a typological approach to re-appraising the environment; while at the same time examining what has made Glenrothes unique as a former New Town. The latter is especially worth reinforcing when one considers that the visionary outputs of New Town development in Scotland are often left unheralded.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland 0131 229 7545

Glenrothes Buildings

Sylvia Grace Borda

A Vancouver-based artist, Sylvia is a research associate at Emily Carr University (Canada), and a guest lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast and Krems University, Austria, with interests in socio-historical issues, architecture, and art. She is best known for her art and research about East Kilbride, Scotland’s First New Town (see

Her exhibition history spans over a decade with solo and group show, and awards include: City of Culture Artist, Surrey, Canada (2008-2009); Innovation Award, LightHouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City (2006); and Urban Culture Public Art Award, Millennium Commission for Cities of Culture, Liverpool (2005-07*)*.

Fife Architecture

Location: Glenrothes, Fife, east-central Scotland.

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Buildings / photos for the Glenrothes New Town Architecture page welcome