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CONCRETE

Designs to Thrive

Places and Spaces

for Living Well

Part of Scotland's Architecture Fringe 2021. Watch all seven videos from our Concrete designs to Thrive series, filmed in Edinburgh during June 2021.

From the minute to the monumental, concrete is the basis for a huge array of interventions across art, design and industry, the structural warp to a cultural weft of people, places and activities.

  • the most utilised material on the planet

  • contributes to 8% of global CO2 emissions

  • 40% of landfill in Scotland comes from construction

Law makers and regulators seek to guide and cajole as a new well-being and circular economy takes shape.

Designers, confronted by this heavy carbon footprint, seek mindful, functional and sustainable design solutions.

Concrete Designs to Thrive draws on seven essential acts of life:

MEET, LEARN, NEST, PRAY, HEAL, PLAY, and VOTE.

 

In a rolling series of creative events, we journey to Scotland's seven cities, on the ground from 2022.

We celebrate the triumphs and debate the challenges for contemporary designers working in Scotland. 

We foster international collaboration by linking interventions at home and abroad,

From consideration of material and construction, we pose broader questions about sustainability and well-being.

In all we ask, what places and spaces help us to live well and prosper?

We introduce our Concrete Designs to Thrive programme with a Walk by Design in central Edinburgh.

We walk and talk to design experts and enthusiasts, outlining themes and objectives on this latest material journey.

Check out each of our seven stops on the route below, each film around 20 minutes in duration.

You can watch and share our full range of Creative Encounters on our Journeys in Design YouTube channel

Our 'Concrete Walk in the Capital' was presented in June 2021, as part of Scotland's Architecture Fringe.

1 MEET

Culture Hubs & City Squares

6-6.30pm Tuesday 8 June 2021 
Camera Obscura, Riddels Court  

Emma Olver, Patrick Geddes Centre
discussing design legacies 
'By leaves we live' 

A Walk and Talk with Emma Olver of Scottish Historic Buildings Trust and John Ennis of Journeys in Design.

 

In the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, the pair discuss the work and legacy of the Scottish internationalist Sir Patrick Geddes, town planner and polymath. We walk from his Outlook Tower, at the top of Castle Hill, passing the tenement where he and his family made their home, through into Riddles Court and the Patrick Geddes Centre. We reflect on the contemporary power of the Geddes legacy.

This encounter introduces Concrete Designs to Thrive, exploring the contemporary design of places and spaces for living well.

The design legacy of Sir Patrick Geddes runs throughout this programme.

The encounter also introduces the theme of MEET with its exploration of Culture Hubs and City Squares.

2 LEARN

Libraries & Campuses

6-6.30pm Wednesday 9 June 2021
Edinburgh Uni Library and Campus  

Fran Baseby, Special Collections 
discussing design archives 
By an urban parkland

A Walk and Talk with Fran Baseby of University of Edinburgh Special Collections and John Ennis of Journeys in Design.

 

We take in leafy views of George Square and the nearby Meadows as we walk around by the main library of University of Edinburgh, designed by Scottish architect Basil Spence and partners. We discuss what works about the building in context and reflect on textile links from Edinburgh to Spence’ Coventry Cathedral. The pair discuss how the work of the special collections’ archivist is evolving and how archives can enliven the story of design.

 

This encounter introduces Concrete Designs to Thrive, exploring the contemporary design of places and spaces for living well.

The place of design archives and the work of Basil Spence forms an important part this programme.

The encounter also introduces the theme of LEARN with its exploration of University Libraries and Campuses. 

3 NEST

Homes & Neighborhoods

6-6.30pm Thursday 10 June 2021
Old Town Garden  

Paul and Ed, Residents and Activists
discussing design and regeneration
By an inner city garden

A Walk and Talk with Ed and Paul, Edinburgh residents and design activists and John Ennis of Journeys in Design.

 

In the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, we move from an original Patrick Geddes small town garden into a verdant oasis created by Ed and Paul from the tarmac back yard of their tenement. We discuss the nature of neighbourhood and how shared garden spaces can unite and engage. The pair discuss the work involved in creating their new garden including the canny reuse of tarmac slabs and the packing of new dividing wall, all examples of zero waste and circular design. Regenerative design principles are at work too, a new garden space increasing local biodiversity for the greater good.

 

This encounter introduces Concrete Designs to Thrive, exploring the contemporary design of places and spaces for living well.

The realities of zero waste, circular and regenerative design are all core to our exploration in this programme.

The encounter also introduces the theme of NEST with its exploration of Homes and Neighbourhoods. 

4 PRAY

Faith Buildings & Sanctuaries

1.30-2pm Friday 11 June 2021
Charteris Court, St John St   

 

Joanna Kessel, Artist  
discussing design and the spiritual  
By art in the urban realm

5 HEAL

Health & Well-Being Centres

6-6.30pm Tuesday 15 June 2021
Scottish Poetry Library   

 

Ruthanne Baxter, University of Edinburgh Museums 
discussing designs on prescription 
By urban green spaces

6 PLAY

Pavillions & Parklands

6-6.30pm Wednesday 16 June 2021
CRAGS Centre St Leonard's   

 

Kate Foggo, Edinburgh Frontrunners 
discussing design for recreation 
By forms in the landscape

7 VOTE

Parliaments & City Chambers

6-6.30pm Thursday 17 June 2021
Palace and Parliament, Holyrood

 

Peter Wilkie, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

discussing design, biodiversity and circular economy
By a national landscape