In August 2016 A&DS, together with the Oban Communities Trust and the Festival of Architecture, brought together a range of activities at the Rockfield Centre, Oban. In this guest blog Andrew Pinkerton from the Oban Communities Trust outlines what the project meant for the community.
Last March I went along to a ‘Say Hello to Architecture’ event at the Lighthouse. I was interested to learn more about A&DS plans for 2016 and to see if there were any opportunities to link the programme with the work I was doing with Oban Communities Trust to develop the Rockfield Centre in Oban. A chance conversation at the coffee break led to Oban saying ‘Hello to Architecture’ in a big way.
The Rockfield Centre project is transforming the former Victorian primary school building at the heart of Oban town centre into an exciting new cultural and community hub and one of the old classrooms seemed to offer the perfect space for Prospect North. A few meetings later, and Oban had become the location for the national launch of Prospect North and the concept of an Oban Festival of Architecture was born.
Having an ‘architecture festival’ in Oban was not something that had crossed the mind of anybody in Oban Communities Trust, but it turned into a really positive experience. The event attracted national media coverage, and provided a great opportunity to promote the plans for Rockfield to everyone who came to view the exhibitions. The town’s profile was enhanced and valuable lessons were learnt about exhibition set-up and event management. But above all, the Festival demonstrated the potential of the building, helped Oban Communities Trust define its priorities going forward and gave real encouragement to the many volunteers working hard to achieve the vision for the Rockfield Centre.