2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design in Scotland. In the coming months events and celebrations will be ongoing across Scotland to highlight the nation’s many contributions in technology, science, the arts, and more. A key element in all of this is the Festival of Architecture 2016 – showcasing Scotland’s built environment ranging from its classic 17th century castles to today’s wave of concrete and glass modernism and utilizing such innovative tools as the common garden shed, Lego® bricks, and even music and cake!
Scotland's original architecture was a stone dwelling known as the broch. These were roundhouse buildings found scattered around Atlantic Scotland. They are not know to exist anywhere buy Scotland. There are nearly 600 known broch sites throughout the country.
Of course when most people think of Scottish architecture what immediately comes to mind is the classic 17th century castle. Another fine example is the classic "tigh dubh". Gaelic for black house - a low stone house often with thatched roof and most common on the crofts of the Scottish Highlands and islands.
Architecture is not just the art of designing a building. Architecture can take other forms, like bridges. travel around Scotland and one will see a wide variety of architectural styles. The real art of architecture also takes into account the spaces "between" the buildings.
The Festival of Architecture 2016 is orchestrated by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland to mark its centennary. Founded in 1916 at the behest of architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson, the RIAS seeks to foster fellowship and an open exchange of ideas among its some 5,000 members across Scotland.
CEO of the RIAS (and guest on this episode) is Neil Baxter. A research historian with a specialty in architecture, indeed you might say he bleeds brick and mortar – both his brother and brother-in-law are architects, his late father was an architectural model maker, even his sister works in the industry in the realm of professional development and education. Baxter has worked steadily on this festival of architecture since talking the reigns of the RIAS in 2008
This Festival of Architecture offers a wide ranging program of events thanks to partnerships with many other organizations. Programs like the celebration of Scot style – building the century, honoring Scotland’s top 100 buildings of the RIAS centenary as voted by the Scottish people – Adventures in Space, exploring the architecture of Science fiction – the Ideal Hut Show, using the humble garden shed as a tool for innovative architecture – and there’s children’s educational programs featuring Lego® bricks, and even musical compositions inspired by architecture – and much, more.
Architecture is estimated to account for 12-18% of Scotland’s GDP of more than 240 billion dollars and yet we don’t often think of as we go about our daily lives, but it is all around us. The Festival of Architecture 2016 hopes to engage the public and help them to interact with architecture, to realize it is not remote from them, but is a contributor to the very fabric and quality of their lives.
•Festival of Architecture 2016 (website)
•Sir Robert Rowand Anderson (founder of RIAS)