Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Scotland’s 2016 architecture festival lands £400k funding boost


The Scottish Government has confirmed £400,000 of funding towards the RIAS’s landmark Festival of Architecture next year

The cash injection comes in addition to support from 28 Scottish practices which have already pledged at least £1,000 each to help fund the festival.

Around £300,000 will come directly from the Scottish Government with EventScotland stumping up the remaining £100,000.

Organised by RIAS to mark its centenary, the ‘year-long celebration’ aims to resurrect trust in the profession, promote tourism and create a long-term legacy recognising the social and economic benefits of architecture.

Overall cash donations and in-kind contributions towards the event – which runs from March to October – are expected to reach the £4 million mark.

RIAS secretary and treasurer Neil Baxter commented: ‘We are confidently on target. The overall target has always been very realistic and we are confident support from other organisations could bring us well over £4 million.’

Announcing the latest funding, Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘The RIAS Festival of Architecture will highlight the richness and breadth of Scotland’s architecture and the world quality of our built landscape.

‘It will be a nationwide event, showing how architecture touches everyone’s lives and engaging with Scots and visitors to Scotland – whether they have a professional involvement in architecture, or a passing interest.’

Architecture is a pivotal part of Scotland’s culture

She continued: ‘Architecture is a pivotal part of Scotland’s culture. This funding from the Scottish Government and VisitScotland will allow the Festival of Architecture to connect Scottish communities and visitors with our architecture through events & exhibitions, Scotland-wide.

She added: ‘The 2016 Festival of Architecture will form a key part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design celebrations which will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s greatest assets, icons and hidden gems through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity to boost tourism in every corner of Scotland.’

RIAS president and festival chair David Dunbar said: ‘This support for the Festival of Architecture 2016 is an important recognition of the potential of this eight month-long event.

‘The Royal Incorporation and our 62 other partner organisations are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary values Scottish Architecture so highly and that the Festival will be a key part of the themed Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.’

He continued: ‘This Festival is a national celebration, notably of great architecture, but also of how the work of architects improves people’s lives.

‘It has the potential to transform Scotland’s relationship with its built environment, engaging local communities, young and old alike, with the artform which has been called “the mother of the arts”. By improving people’s appreciation and understanding of architecture we all have the potential to improve Scotland. It will also be great fun.’

Masterminding the event are high-profile former Glasgow City Council design advisor and University of Strathclyde tutor architect Gerry Grams with former Glasgow Life head of libraries and cultural venues Karen Cunningham.

Headline events for 2016 include a March opening party at St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross – inviting the public to experience Gillespie, Kidd & Coia’s ruin with sound and light installations for the very first time.

The festival will then spread out across Scotland’s seven cities with festival hubs delivering activities in Dundee (March), Aberdeen (April to May), Inverness (June), Edinburgh (June to August), Glasgow (June to August), Stirling (September) and Perth (October).

The programme’s centrepiece will be a ‘cities expo’ on The Mound in Edinburgh featuring up to 20 international pavilions showcasing ground breaking architecture from around the world. Emerging overseas practices will be selected through competitions in their respective cities for the £30,000 installations which may be moved to Dundee.

An educational programme for pupils aged three to 18 is also being developed along with further outreach initiatives by the festival’s 60 partner organisations – including Scottish Opera and the Children’s Parliament.

The full festival programme will be announced on 31 November.

What’s happening around Scotland?

Scotland map



Opening party - St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross
Adventures in Space - The Lighthouse
Ideal Hut Show - Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Scotstyle - touring exhibition



Cities Expo - The Mound
Portraits Placed - Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Ideal Hut Show - Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotstyle - touring exhibition



Ideal Hut Show - Inverness Botanic Gardens
Films on architecture in Highlands and Islands - tbc



Architecturally inspired crazy golf
Interactive smart phone app
- tbc
Minecraft challenge for new bridge over Firth of Tay - tbc



Jonathan Meades lecture - Peacock Visual Arts
Gareth Moore artist residency - PeacockVisual Arts
Scotland’s 2014 Venice Biennale exhibit ‘Absorbing Modernity’ - PeacockVisual Arts
Scotstyle - touring exhibition



Thistle to Castle - walking route
Scotstyle - touring exhibition



Lantern festival finale - The Helix

Key events: in detail

  • The Scottish National Portrait Gallery will host a ground-floor exhibition featuring portraits and busts of Scotland’s greatest architects – both historic and contemporary – alongside images of their work.
  • A touring exhibition – dubbed ‘Scotstyle’ – will invite the public to select Scotland’s best buildings from the past 100 years. A competition for a young practice to design the show is expected to be announced shortly.
  • In Glasgow, The Lighthouse will host a free exhibition ‘Adventures in Space’ exploring science fiction’s impact on architecture with works by Scottish comic book stars Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.
  • The Ideal Hut Show – which was first held during Glasgow’s stint as UK City of Architecture and Design in 1999 – will also make a return. The open-air installation which invites architects and designers to reinvent off-the-shelf garden sheds will tour botanical gardens in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.
  • In Stirling, icecream architecture and Artlink Central are creating a ‘Thistle to Castle’ walking route with installations drawing attention to nearby education and health campuses.
  • Aberdeen’s Peacock Visual Arts will stage a public lecture by writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades asking ‘Does a City get the Architecture it Deserves?’
  • Musical commissions, architectural poetry and Gaelic language films on Scottish architecture touring the highlands and islands are furthermore expected with the final programme to be confirmed later this year.
  • The Helix – home of The Kelpies – in Falkirk will host a lantern festival featuring Scotland’s most iconic buildings for the festival’s October finale. Three yet-to-be-announced studios have been appointed to work with local communities on the lantern designs.




Readers' comments (4)

  • Yeah.....Great. That is a huge mount of money. But before everyone gets all excited a few basic questions.....
    1. Let them tell architects exactly how they will define success criteria and how they plan to measure these criteria?
    2. Architects need hard results on improved fees and clients swerving away from non-architect service providers. How will this be demonstrated?
    3. Doesn't it strike you as somewhat over-promising? - "A year-long celebration’ aims to resurrect trust in the profession, promote tourism and create a long-term legacy recognising the social and economic benefits of architecture."
    How on earth can these fantastical objectives be measured and actually deliver meaningful results?
    And yet architects honestly believe time after time this sort of stuff will deliver salvation...the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ...Or using a footie analogy - 'There is nothing worse than a fantastic kick in the wrong direction'

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Not every architect, Paul.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @Alan - good to hear....
    Neuroliguistic and NLP experts suggest we need a new word in the English language - 'Sombunall'...meaning 'some but not all of'. I should have used this..

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

AJ Jobs