Scotland + Venice 2012 – Critical Dialogues

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Critical Dialogues explored what happened when four young Scottish architectural practices went to the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012 to showcase a new type of architecture to an international audience. The exhibition launched on February 22nd and ran until April 10th on Level 2, The Lighthouse.

The projects on show included GRAS’ Transient Gallery, which was commended in the AJ Small Projects 2013 Award. The four Glasgow based architecture practices – DO Architecture, GRAS, Pidgin Perfect and Stone Opera – responded to the Biennale’s theme ‘Common Ground’ by organising a week-long sequence of activities that engaged with marginalised places and social organisations. The exhibition – in addition to showcasing the projects on the ground in Venice – also looked at the same projects set in a Scottish context.

The projects – which range from a temporary gallery highlighting forgotten architectural features of a place, a theatrical banquet, a hands-on architecture workshop for children and a camera fitted to a weather balloon capturing a new perspective of Venice – all explore the creative boundaries of architecture and the social role of the architect in engaging with people on the ground.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“Scotland has a wealth of creative architectural talent and we saw an opportunity in the Venice Biennale on Architecture to offer emerging Scottish architects the chance to showcase their work on an international stage. Our faith was well rewarded when the four practices embraced that opportunity and returned home to gain the RSA medal for architecture for their project.

“I am delighted that the exhibition at The Lighthouse offers the opportunity for the public at home to view the Scotland + Venice project.”

Speaking ahead of the launch of the exhibition, Jim MacDonald, Chief Executive of Architecture and Design Scotland, said “This exhibition will look at four practices’ innovative ways of engaging with people – whether through small, temporary buildings or events that encourage people to look at architecture in a new way. The exhibition also sets this type of work in a context of ‘new practice’ in Scottish architecture, where the architect is more than a creator of buildings and becomes a catalyst for broader change.

The exhibition was supported by Scottish Government, British Council and Creative Scotland, and was originally curated by Jonathan Charley, Strathclyde University.

Photos: Gilmar Ribeiro

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