Archi-Fringe – Edinburgh, Too

Hello Everyone,

As you’re probably aware 2016 is the year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, it’s the only year-long festival celebrating the international built environment, design and innovation, part of which the Cities Expo we’ve been covering on the Mound.  On Friday we were privileged to meet with Architects Robb Mcrae and Tamsin Cunningham at their exhibitions ‘Edinburgh Too’ and ‘Peripheries and Outlines’.

Archifringe18 months ago, Robb Mcrae, architect, photographer and lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, had an idea to set up an Architecture Fringe.  He floated the idea on social media, seven tweets later, a series of mini events and a period of six months creating awareness and gathering feedback he took on challenge of Co-producer of the ArchiFringe.

It’s an independent, self funded festival, with 60 contributors and 29 events all over Scotland – a fantastic festival showcasing ideas and innovative solutions, on a local level.

Robb’s exhibition ‘Edinburgh Too’ was on at Gayfield Creative Spaces gallery for a few days and is now moving onto Glasgow from 15 – 17 July at new Glasgow Society.  The exhibition displays photographic pieces, highlighting the residential built environment outside of the Edinburgh World Heritage site.

The images showcased the diverse aesthetics in the wider city context, challenging perceptions of the reality of living in a historic city.  As Robb said, “In Scotland there is prevalence for connection to other people, to community through semi-detached and apartment living also, their formation as free-flowing streets and not cul-de sacs adds to the public realm of the city and security, resulting in attractive neighbourhoods.”

His next project will be looking at Castlerock, the foundation before the existence of the city.  He hopes to compile his work in a book so if you missed the exhibition keep your eye out for it.

Tamsin Cunningham, Architect and Artist, showcased her exhibition ‘Peripheries and Outlines’.  Speaking with Tamsin was inspirational, her work offered the viewer a clear message of repetition, of form and ultimately connection.  Art is Tamsin’s therapeutic past time.  It reflects daily insight into the physical and sociological ideals within the city, gained through her profession as an Architect.  Tamsin noted that, “Common threads through and Robb and my own exhibitions are finding ways to explore discourse through architecture using different mediums and realising the points of connectivity between culture and community.”

Peripheries and Outlines
Peripheries and Outlines

We asked what’s next for Tamsin?

A project in collaboration with St. Andrews University looking at the issue of community engagement in Planning, researching and developing possible solutions for reinventing public consultation, how to make it more engaging, efficient and effective. This is interesting for us, with the Old and New Towns Management Plan consultation taking place at the moment.  She’s also working with Edinburgh World Heritage Trust on the 12 closes project, exploring the emotional connection between people and their place.

Meeting Robb and Tamsin was great!

We hope you find their stories as interesting as we did.  You can find out more about upcoming events at the Architecture fringe website and read more about Robb and his work.

Thanks for reading, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter.

Katie and Luke

Your views on new buildings and places in Edinburgh

You might recall, that last year we asked for views on a number of new buildings in Edinburgh. This year we’ve tried to make it a bit easier by asking about a selection of new buildings and places in four areas of the City.

Map of survey areas
Map of survey areas

If you open the map and click on the title for each area it will take you to the relevant survey. If you’re using a mobile or tablet, the links below will take you to the same surveys. You can do one area or if you’re feeling adventurous all four. Drop-in events are shown in each survey. Either way, we’re keen to get your thoughts.  The survey is open until 31 August 2015.

Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning and RIAS Doolan Award 2014

Edinburgh Design Guidance

The Edinburgh Design Guidance was given an award at the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning in the Development Plans category at an event held last night.

Edinburgh Design Guidance
Edinburgh Design Guidance (14.3mb PDF download)

The judges noted that in creating the new guidance, attention was given to reviewing the previous guidance, to help reduce and simplify the information as much as possible.  A number of people were involved in preparing the guidance including planners, architects, community groups and politicians with the intention to keep the content under review and update it as required.  The judges felt this was a clever way to make sure the guidance is relevant and responsive.  They were also impressed with the overall layout of the document – in three coherent and well-illustrated chapters – as well as linking the guidance with a training package on how to use it.

The guidance explains the Council’s expectations for the design of buildings, landscape and spaces in Edinburgh.

26 -31 Charlotte Square

26-31 Charlotte Square
26-31 Charlotte Square

We also collected a commendation for our work with Corran Properties and Morgan McDonnell Architecture on the restoration and redevelopment of 26 – 31 Charlotte Square which the judges said was a sensitive and complex regeneration project.

RIAS Doolan Award: Advocate’s Close

At another awards ceremony last night the Advocate’s Close development, also by Morgan McDonnell Architecture, was awarded the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for 2014.  This complex development posed a number of planning challenges not least in creating a development on a site that is embedded in the fine grain of closes on the flanks of the old town ridge.  The reuse of buildings and the careful design of new buildings for commercial units, a restaurant, offices, a bar/bistro and serviced apartments has brought new life to this part of the Old Town.