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Reiach and Hall to show off Scottish Modernism at Venice Biennale

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Edinburgh-based practice Reiach and Hall has been chosen to represent Scotland in a month-long residency at the Venice Biennale

Reiach and Hall beat five other Scotland-based practices including NORD Architecture and Zone Architects and will now be awarded a budget of £50,000 to present a study of Scotland’s Modernist past at the Venice Architecture Biennale in October.

Reiach and Hall will organise four teams, each comprising an architect, an academic and two architecture students who will each represent a different area of Scotland: Edinburgh and the Borders; Glasgow and the West; Highlands and Islands; and Dundee and Fife.

The teams will spend the next three months researching Scottish Modernism in their geographical areas before they each spend a week based at the British Pavilion in Venice where they will present their research and organise events.

Neil Gillespie, director at Reiach and Hall and project leader said: ‘We will be looking at a very specific period of Scottish Modernism, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, which was a very productive period for architecture in Scotland. We want to present our research in an experiential rather than a scholarly way and each team will be free to interpret the brief as they choose.’

He added: ‘While at the British Pavilion, the teams will be expected to research other pavilions which they will present when back home, in this way bringing something from Scotland to Venice, and something from Venice to Scotland.’

On the reasons for choosing to focus on Scottish Modernism, Gillespie said: ‘I am interested in how we move forward, but from the base of a certain past. Scotland suffers from not celebrating its architectural heritage enough.’

‘It would be good to take part in the global conversation and to throw light on aspects of Modernism we may overlook, including this particular period when Modernism had a more confident, optimistic voice.’

The project is being supported by the Scottish Government Creative Scotland and the British Council.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary of culture and external affairs at the Scottish Parliament, said: ‘This heritage was an important part of the vision for post-war change in Scotland and is a valuable record of not only our architectural history but of developing technologies and social and cultural institutions.’

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