Archie returns bigger and better for 2017

One of Steve Messam's creations in the Mellerstain House estateOne of Steve Messam's creations in the Mellerstain House estate
One of Steve Messam's creations in the Mellerstain House estate
Taking a taxi ride to discover the city, creating a village of play dens, and printing 3D building blocks to create a super space are just some of the highlights this summer as architecture takes centre stage with its own fringe.

Over 50 events across Scotland have been organised to explore architecture, how it makes a difference to our lives, and what is in store for the future.

As well as offering festival goers the opportunity to play and build their own spaces, it will also seek to discover why houses in the Highlands look the way they do, and present quick-fire talks to find out what our town halls, schools and even public toilets will look like in the future.

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Organised by a grassroots collective, the Architecture Fringe is a festival which aims to change Scotland for the better.

Following the success of the inaugural event in 2016, this year’s festival has expanded to host events from July 1 to 23 in 37 venues in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, the Scottish Borders and the Highlands.

A series of participatory events, exhibitions, installations, talks, tours and debates have been programmed to help broaden the public’s understanding of architecture, how to engage with it and improve our lives in Scotland and beyond.

Andy Summers, co-producer of the Architecture Fringe said; “The success and vitality of the inaugural Architecture Fringe in 2016 encouraged a lot of new work, new ideas and new voices across the arts.

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“We’re very excited about the programme for 2017 which will take a critical look at the everyday infrastructure of architecture itself and how the discipline can and should play a crucial role for the wider benefit of our shared civil society.

“We are hosting many of the events in unexpected places, in public places, beyond the art galleries and studios.

“Architecture is all around us and we hope the Architecture Fringe offers a lively and inventive way to inspire fun, reflection, learning and action to help build a better future for us all.”

Highlights of the festival - affectionately known as Archifringe - include Taxi where a member of the public joins an architect and a taxi driver on a journey offering differing perspectives on a city’s architecture.

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The result of trips in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow and their conversations will be screened as part of a special exhibition throughout the festival.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow’s Civic House on July 12, New Typologies asks leading architects to imagine our shared future infrastructure until the year 2042.

Questions will be asked about what Scotland’s town halls, schools, shops, libraries and public parks will look like and if there are clues in the past about what tomorrow’s typology will be.

In New Lanark, artist Ally Wallace will lead a tour around Bonnington Hydro-electric power station on July 21.

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The afternoon event will feature Ally’s own videos, recordings and drawings of the art deco structure – the first large scale hydro electric plant in Britain – followed by a walk near the Falls of Clyde.

The opportunity to build a family-friendly forest village sees the festival visit the Abriachan Forest in Inverness, one of the largest community-owned forests in Scotland.

Further south, the Scottish Borders will host a trio of large-scale temporary installations and architectural interventions by artist Steve Messam.

The gardens and grounds of Mellarstain House in Berwickshire is showing XXX from July 14.

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The site-specific art works explore a sense of space, presence and place using inflatable and fabric sculptures.

Also opening on July 14, the Open Close Project in Edinburgh will see how smaller urban spaces can become containers for greater joy, play, stimulation and well-being, and the role of temporary art and architecture in this transformation.

Open Close is led by a collaborative team of artists, designers and architects and will explore themes of ownership, memory, digital and natural language and character and awareness of spaces and places in the Old Town.

Tamsin Cunningham, the co-founder of the Open Close Project said: “We are delighted to be working with award-winning artists Toby Paterson, Tommy Perman and Rob St John to transform four closes in Edinburgh.

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“We are excited to see how these collaborations create a more imaginative experience of the city.”

Last month, the Test Unit summer school challenged international participants to prototype new ways of reclaiming Glasgow’s vacant post-industrial spaces.

The results will be shown in the city’s Civic House for the duration of the festival as the Test Unit project returns.

Rob Morrison co-producer on Test Unit said: “A huge number of Scottish cities have a lot of vacant buildings and industrial sites.

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“Test Unit is an opportunity to see how, through an education programme, we can generate some really interesting ideas about how these buildings can be used for public good.

“Throughout the Architecture Fringe we’ll be welcoming visitors to the site to explore what small teams led by architects and designers have created in just one intense week.”

Andy Summers added: “The Architectural Fringe gives festival goers the opportunity to discover new spaces in Scotland, get hands on with fun and practical workshops, imagine what the future holds for architecture and understand, debate and discuss how we can impact that future.”

The Architecture Fringe 2017 runs from July 1 to 27 at venues across Scotland.

For full details and information about tickets and prices, visit

Follow on Twitter: @ArchiFringe and Instagram: @ArchiFringe #ArchiFringe.