International Innovation and Architecture in Edinburgh

Pop-up Cities Expo held as part of Scotland’s Festival of Architecture 2016

July 21st, 2016
Alex Waters, CD News

Scotland’s Festival of Architecture 2016 is a year-long government initiative, organized as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, and is aimed at showcasing the extent of Scottish talent in the field both within Scotland and overseas.

According to David Dunbar, Chair of the festival, “The Festival of Architecture 2016 will share Scottish design and creativity internationally and highlight the richness and breadth of Scotland’s architecture and the world quality of our built landscape.” Thus, this year Scotland will play host to “hundreds of exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, musical celebrations and other events, involving many thousands of participants from home and abroad.”

The Pop-up Cities Expo, considered to be the most international event of the Festival, opened on 21st June and closed last Sunday in Edinburgh. Five cities were given the opportunity to create their own pavilion: Bergen (Norway), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Vilnius (Lithuania), Dundee & Edinburgh (Scotland). The medium, 5x5m2 pop-up buildings, were chosen due to their “increasing popularity” and their creative potential; allowing international architects and artists the opportunity to create structures which were imaginative and unique.

The resulting creations were diverse, although a comment theme was the use of natural and recycled materials. For the city of Dundee architects designed a wooden structure made from tree trunks. The wood was sourced from trees which had been uprooted during a storm in a nearby forest. The Bergen pavilion also featured a wooden design, however this one featured rectangular blocks timber, resembling a giant game of Jenga. The Edinburgh pavilion was an origami inspired structure featuring reclined pyramids while the entry from Vilnius was a simple white plywood structure on the outside with photos of people and buildings on the inside.

Finally, and in contrast to the previous four structures, Rotterdam’s construction was made from 2,400 PVC drainpipes. The pipes were fitted with plants on one end and slanted so that rain water could flow through to a shallow pool inside the structure which was fitted with stepping stones. 

The Expo was a wonderful opportunity for international and home-grown artists to demonstrate their creative potential while fostering the development of teamwork, cultural appreciation and mutual understanding among the international contributors.   


Cultural Diplomacy News