A Town Hall For All project features at Scotland + Venice : the Happenstance

A town hall for all happenstance
A town hall for all happenstance

A Town Hall For All project features at Scotland + Venice : the Happenstance

A town hall for all happenstanceVenice image credit – Bash Khan

Penicuik + Venice

Scotland + Venice: The Happenstance – Collateral Event at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (Venice) –establishes a Freespace in the garden at the heart of Palazzo Zenobio in Venice and opens to the public this week.

Promoted by the Scotland and Venice Partnership and curated by Glasgow-based artists/curators WAVEparticle (who regularly collaborate with Austin-Smith:Lord) a team of artists and architects are encouraging everyone into a vital relationship with the built environment, using play as an active agent within the process of rethinking and reclaiming Freespace.

Austin-Smith:Lord are contributing to the Happenstance, which features their A Town Hall for All project in Penicuik, Midlothian.

Penicuik Town Hall has been identified as a priority for the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration Project; a partnership with Midlothian Council, Penicuik Community Development Trust and Penicuik First. Applications have recently been made to Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland for a Townscape Initiative (TI) and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) for Penicuik town centre.

As part of the Happenstance project for Scotland + Venice and the Year of Young People, every primary school pupil in Penicuik has been invited to share their ideas for A Town Hall for All.

Given Penicuik’s heritage as a Papermaking Town ideas have been captured on 1,329 Paper People – one for every pupil in the town. Their Paper Chain of Ideas will be exhibited in the Town Hall on 13 June (from 11.30am to 6pm), to start a whole-town debate about what A Town Hall for All ages should be like. It is intended to inform future plans for Penicuik Town Hall, to create a Freespace for Penicuik.

Whilst Scotland + Venice : The Happenstance opens this weekend at the Venice Biennale, Austin-Smith:Lord are participating in Penicuik’s annual Hunter and Lass gala to celebrate the work of the town’s school pupils, and raise awareness of the A Town Hall for All project and invite wider participation. A stall at Penicuik in the Park on Saturday 26 May will showcase the work to date.

Meanwhile, in the garden of Palazzo Zenobio in Venice, visitors can explore the previous work of the artists and architects of The Happenstance, make their mark on the Armature built by Baxendale Architects, make a costume or sit back in our deckchairs to watch a film from Scotland or Venice.

Come and play!

Take a chance, make a stance…see what happens
– This is the art of The Happenstance

To celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People (YOYP), The Happenstance brings together artists and architects to work with young people in Scotland to discover what Freespace means to them and their communities, before bringing a ‘living library of ideas’ to Venice in May, 2018. The Happenstance activities will be based at Palazzo Zenobio from 26 May – 25 November 2018 (Collegio Armeno Moorat Raphael, Dorsoduro 2596, Venezia 30123).

Their proposal is supported and promoted by the Scotland + Venice partnership: Scottish Government, Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, British Council and the Year of Young People/Young Scot.

Graham Ross, Partner at Austin-Smith:Lord said:
We’re relishing the prospect of participating in Penicuik’s annual Hunter and Lass festivities whilst, simultaneously, the A Town Hall for All project is showcased at the internationally prestigious Venice Biennale. We’ve been inspired by the energy and ideas coming through from Penicuik’s primary school pupils and hope that this kick starts a whole-town debate about the Town Hall. Having grown up in Penicuik is been a privilege to work with young people in the town to help them shape their future place and Freespace in Penicuik. We look forward to sharing their ideas with young Venetians in the coming weeks.”

Peter McCaughey of WAVEparticle, said, “Scotland +Venice offers a fantastic opportunity to share ideas and tools from Scottish culture around open space and Freespace, both in the format of an exhibition but, more importantly, in the format of live workshops and discussions. The Happenstance will be focussed on the event nature of live situations where things happen – like the tradition of Speakers’ Corner, it is a place to take a stance, to present a proposition, to articulate an idea on the theme of Freespace.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:
The Scottish Government is pleased to support Scotland’s participation as a Collateral Event in the Biennale Architettura 2018. Our presence at this year’s Biennale Architettura offers a special opportunity during Scotland’s Year of Young People to demonstrate how our country’s young people can contribute to ideas at the most prestigious architecture event in the world.
The Happenstance project will present fine examples of creativity in Scotland’s built environment and how the public has benefited. It will also show the value that Scotland places upon the ideas of our children and young people to an international audience.”