Austin-Smith:Lord contributing to Scotland + Venice
Scotland + Venice: WAVEparticle attracts dynamic mix of collaborators, including Austin-Smith:Lord, to deliver Scotland’s contribution to the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice, in 2018.
Scotland will be represented as a collateral event at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Biennale di Venezia starting in May 2018. To engage with the Biennale Architettura 2018 theme of Freespace, and to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People (YOYP), the project The Happenstance (curated by WAVEparticle), begins in Scotland with an exploration of how young people in Scotland respond to Freespace.
The Happenstance brings together artists and architects to work with young people nationwide to discover what Freespace means to them and their communities, before bringing a ‘living library of ideas’ to Venice in May 2018. Austin-Smith:Lord’s contribution to this is the ongoing ‘A Town Hall for All’ project, which is inviting young people in Penicuik to start a whole-town debate about how best to adapt Penicuik Town Hall to future needs.
Penicuik Town Hall has been identified as a priority project in the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration project, and it is intended to involve young people in rejuvenating spaces with the town centre. Midlothian Council is in the process of making funding applications to progress these regeneration projects.
Graham Ross, Partner at Austin-Smith:Lord said, “We are delighted to be involved, working with our regular collaborators at WAVEparticle, who are the lead curators for the Happenstance.
“It is a rare privilege and big responsibility to be encouraging young people in Penicuik to share their ideas for A Town Hall for All. It is also an immense honour to be contributing to Scotland + Venice, to showcase working with young people in planning their place.
In this digital age it is important to discuss the role and purpose of public and community ‘Freespace’ now and in the future. We are hoping to start a whole-town debate and consider what a 21st Century town hall should be a like; a Town Hall for All ages: young and old!”
The A Town Hall for All project is being facilitated by a team at Austin-Smith:Lord, led by Graham Ross, and was launched in all six of Penicuik’s primary schools in the week before Easter. All 1,500+ primary school pupils in the town, and anybody else with a passion for the Town Hall, are being invited to jot their ideas down on paper in a series of ideas workshops in the town. In celebration of the town’s papermaking heritage ideas are being captured on paper people that will be collated into an enormous paper chain of ideas exhibition in the Town Hall later this year.
A film recording the project, alongside a selection of young peoples’ ideas for Penicuik Town Hall, will be shown at the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice It is also intended to workshop ideas for A Town Hall for All with young Venetians during the Biennale and share these ideas with young people in Penicuik as part of a cultural exchange.
Rod Lugg of Midlothian Council and the Penicuik Heritage Regeneration project said: “It is hoped that the best proposals from young Penicuikers can help inform exciting future plans for the Town Hall. We’re progressing funding applications to help adapt the Town Hall to meet the local community’s contemporary and future needs. We want this project to ultimately engage everyone in the area to participate in developing ideas for the Town Hall.”
If you want further information you can download ‘A Town Hall for All’ pack online here.
Follow the project on social media at
Architecture & Design Scotland’s press release can be found here:
The Happenstance collaborators: the team selected by WAVEparticle are experts in the art of building Freespaceand each partner has been asked to select examples of their best practice for exhibition in Venice.
Each partner will come to Venice to demonstrate these approaches in a series of workshops, talks, outdoor film screenings and live events. The team includes:
Architects: Graham Ross (Austin-Smith:Lord), Fergus Purdie (Fergus Purdie Architects), Lee Ivett & Ambrose Gillick (Baxendale), Paul Stallan & Keri Monaghan (Stallan-Brand)
Artists: Brian Hartley, Ruby Pester & Nadia Rossi, Tassy Thompson, Emily Speed, Francis Thorburn, Daniele Sambo, Hannah Brackston
Designers: Alberto Lago and Neil McGuire
Film-maker: Basharat Khan, Morwenna Kearsley
The project, beginning in Scotland in early 2018, before participating in the Biennale Architettura 2018, will bring back learning to Scotland in the latter half of the year.